Falcao helps Atletico Madrid stun Chelsea in European Supercup

Atletico Madrid striker Falcao scored a hat-trick as the Spanish side beat Champions League winner Chelsea 4-1 in the European Supercup on Friday.
Atletico Madrid striker Falcao holds the UEFA Supercup with his teammates after defeating Chelsea in the final on Friday. (Antonio Calanni/Associated Press)

Atletico Madrid striker Falcao scored a hat-trick as the Spanish side beat Champions League winner Chelsea 4-1 in the European Supercup on Friday.

The Colombia international scored all three goals in a mesmerizing first half, as well as hitting the post twice. It was his second hat-trick in five days, after scoring three times in a 4-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Monday.

"I'm speechless, I really can't describe it...what Falcao is doing is indescribable" Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "He's a lad that whenever you set the bar high he responds even higher and rises to the occasion. Hopefully we can keep this up. He's not a player who can be left without pressure, he thrives on pressure."

Miranda completed the scoring for Atletico just after the hour mark. Chelsea dominated possession but produced little of note, until defender Gary Cahill grabbed a consolation goal 15 minutes from time.

"We had a very slow start and we conceded within 20 minutes so after that our game became very difficult," Chelsea coach Roberto di Matteo said. "We gave them too much space and especially with someone like Falcao, you can't give him space.

"We were never really in the game so that's the most disappointing aspect of tonight. We had more possession in the first half but we lacked the penetration."

Falcao scored twice in last season's Europa League final to help Atletico to a 3-0 win against Athletic Bilbao, sealing its place in the European Supercup.

It's the second time Atletico has won the trophy.

"We were playing against the European Champion, we were facing a team who eliminated Barcelona in the semifinals, a team who strengthened itself year after year," Simeone said. "Today they didn't have luck on their side. We had a strategy that was followed to the letter by my players and that fills me with pride as a coach.

"Football always tells you that when it comes to one game anything can happen. We prepared thoroughly for the game, we knew where they could hurt us and we knew where we could hurt them. When a team follows an idea and is committed to the idea things become easier. We played an outstanding match."

The 26-year-old Falcao looked dangerous immediately, and almost gave Atletico the perfect start.

Filipe Luis made a superb run down the left flank and crossed in towards Falcao, whose diving header crashed off the crossbar, with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech stranded.

Falcao did get off the mark in the sixth minute, though, collecting the ball from Gabi and drawing Cech towards him before firing the ball in off the far post. David Luiz tried in vain to clear off the line.

Chelsea almost restored parity immediately but Frank Lampard's fierce shot from about 25 yards (20 metres) was blocked by Juanfran.

It could have been worse for Chelsea as Mario Suarez found Adrian Lopez who streaked away from defender Branislav Ivanovic, but his shot was well blocked by Cech.

The Chelsea goalkeeper had no chance in the 19th minute when Koke picked out Falcao, who cut inside into the right side of the penalty area and curled an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top left corner.

Gabi could have extended Atletico's lead following a surging run, but Cech again did well to block.

Atletico seemed certain to score again 10 minutes from halftime. Arda Turan broke down the right flank and sent a ball across the face of the goal which eluded everyone before falling to Lopez, who scuffed his shot. Falcao then headed the loose ball against the post and Chelsea managed to scramble it clear.

Chelsea was pressing but the Spanish side looked dangerous on the counter. And it was from one of its speedy breaks that it scored again in first half stoppage time.

Atletico cleared the ball following a Chelsea corner and Turan raced about 60 yards (55 metres) before slotting the ball to Falcao, who lashed it home for his 37th goal in 40 European matches.

Former Atletico idol Fernando Torres - who got a rousing cheer from the Spanish fans when his name was announced before the match - almost scored against his former club five minutes after the break, but he fired wide of the left upright.

More woeful Chelsea defending saw Miranda put the game out of sight on the hour mark.

Suarez knocked a free-kick into Miranda's path, he chipped it over Cech and the ball crossed the line despite Cahill's efforts.

Chelsea grabbed its consolation goal in the 75th minute when Cahill fired in a low shot through a crowded penalty area following Lampard's corner.

Juan Mata could have reduced the deficit still further but he fired narrowly over 10 minutes from time.

Atletico nearly made it five at the very end. Suarez's cross looked to be drifting harmlessly across goal before Luiz slid in to meet it and almost put it into his own net, but it ricocheted off the right post.