Football: Atletico Madrid trump Arsenal 3-1 in penalty shoot-out in International Champions Cup opener

Atletico de Madrid's Joaquin Munoz in action against Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe and Hector Bellerin during the International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.
Atletico de Madrid's Joaquin Munoz in action against Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe and Hector Bellerin during the International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil walking out of the tunnel before the start of their  International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil walking out of the tunnel before the start of their International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang takes a shot at goal during their International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang takes a shot at goal during their International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey gestures after missing a goal during their International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey gestures after missing a goal during their International Champions Cup match at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil watches the International Champions Cup match between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid from the bench at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil watches the International Champions Cup match between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid from the bench at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The 2018 edition of the International Champions Cup (ICC) started on Thursday evening (July 26) with Spanish LaLiga outfit Atletico Madrid defeating English Premier League side Arsenal 3-1 on penalties at the National Stadium in Kallang.

The teams were tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes and the result had to be settled by a shoot-out according to the competition rules.

With the Gunners missing three of their kicks, it was left to Atletico goalkeeper Antonio Adan to slam home the deciding penalty.

The football triangular, which is a pre-season warm-up before the European club season starts next month, also features French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Atletico arrived in Singapore on Wednesday with a squad bereft of their top stars - Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa, Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez and Felipe Luis, who were all given extra time off following their exertions at the Russia World Cup.

Although the Gunners enjoyed the better opening spell as their forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette probed for openings, it was Atletico who struck first once Diego Simeone's men weathered the initial storm.

Forward Angel Correa had a shot headed away after goalkeeper Bernd Leno was beaten in the 29th minute and, in the 41st minute, the Europa League holders made their effort count.

Correa turned provider as he drifted down the right, galloped past defender Sead Kolasinac before crossing for fellow forward Luciano Vietto to head home.

But, two minutes after the break, the Gunners levelled through 17-year-old midfielder Emile Smith Rowe, who slalomed his way into the heart of Atletico's defence before hammering a powerful shot into the top corner from 20 metres out.


Arsenal's Emile Smith-Rowe scores their first goal during the International Champions Cup match against Atletico Madrid at the National Stadium in Singapore on July 26, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

The second half saw a wave of substitutions from both sides as key players Aaron Ramsey, Aubameyang and Lacazette (all Arsenal), and Jan Oblak and Kevin Gameiro (both Atletico) were withdrawn.

With virtually reserve teams playing in front of a 23,095 crowd, the match fizzled out without any further goals and little goal-mouth action.

Arsenal will next play PSG on Saturday while Atletico will have to wait till Monday for their second ICC match against the French champions.