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September 25, 2017

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Falcao's hat trick lifts Atletico over Chelsea 4-1 in European Super Cup

MONTE CARLO, Monaco--Atletico Madrid striker Falcao scored a hat-trick as the Spanish side beat Champions League winner Chelsea 4-1 in the European Super Cup 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 Super Cup.

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 toward 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 meters) was blocked by Juanfran.

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