Europa League: Atlético 4 – 2 Valencia

Historic night at the Vicente Calderón as Atleti hammer rivals

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao scores twice against Valencia in the Europa League

Fantastic Falcao scores twice (Marca)

On Thursday night the spectators at the Vicente Calderón witnessed a historic night, as Atlético have taken a big step towards the final of the Europa League.

Domestic rivals Valencia were beaten in spectacular manner, but keep perspective because of two goals at the end of both halves: 4-2.

Atlético, without the suspended Diego Godín, started with the expected and strongest available line-up. The only minor surprise in Simeone’s starting eleven was the exclusion of Tiago, who took place on the bench.

Diego Ribas had a big opportunity to give Atlético a dream start after great work for Arda near the touchline, but Valencia ‘keeper Diego Alves did well to prevent an early setback for Los Che.

A few minutes later Arda again cut in dangerously from the right wing, where he featured a lot in the opening period, but this time failed to connect with Diego. The Rojiblancos continued their strong start with a shot by Falcao and almost took the lead through a great individual effort by Adrián, but our three attempts on target in the first ten minutes were all stopped by Alves.

In the 18th minute Atlético took a deserved lead. Again it was Arda Turan’s determination that allowed him to catch Adil Rami off guard and play the ball across goal. The entire Valencia defence were lacking the focus that Atleti showed early on and were beaten by Radamel Falcao who headed the ball into the back of the net from close range.

It was the fourth consecutive Europa League match in which the Colombian hit the target and his 9th goal in this year’s edition of the tournament.

Atlético completely dominated the game and over half an hour was gone when the visitors finally created their first opportunity. Valencia’s European topscorer Adil Rami headed just centimeters wide after coming forward for a corner.

At the other end Diego would have made it two had he worn size 12’s, but the playmaker came just an inch short of Arda’s inviting cross.

Shots from long range by Arda and Jonas before half time were off target. The teams seemed to be heading to the dressing room with a 1-0 score, but in the 48th minute of the first half Valencia equalized. Rami headed on a corner kick and Jonas walked it at the far post in to give the oranges the all important away goal.

The goal was controversial, as the referee had signalled for only one minute to be added. However, when the Brazilian struck the scoreboard had 47 minutes and 25 seconds on the clock.

After the break Atleti immediately hit back. While others might have considered Jonas’ goal a psychological blow, we actually straightened our backs, lift up our chins and reclaimed our lead just three minutes into the second half. A free kick by Diego was headed in, completely unchallenged, by Miranda to make it 2-1.

Atleti, who had showed attacking intent and defended far up the pitch, extended their lead just minutes later when Topal was pressured into giving away the ball in midfield. Adrián picked up the ball in Valencia’s half and left Víctor Ruiz behind, before slotting the ball past Alves and giving his team a two goal lead.

Including our qualifying games, this was already the 10th goal in the Europa League for Adrián, who’s already assisted his teammates on 6 occasions.

The Colchonero faithful could sniff Valencia’s scent of fear in the air as the home team continued to attack relentlessly, knowing that this was the time to deal the final blow. Arda Turan could have extended our lead to three after Alves spilled Adrián’s shot, but the goalie made up for his mistake by stopping the Turk’s rebound.

Alves again pulled off a fantastic save to keep Diego’s free kick from flying into the top corner.

The final blow would come, and it was dealt with a sledgehammer. Ten minutes from the end Radamel Falcao scored what will be considered one of the best goals in the tournament to make it 4-1. Controlling a long ball on his chest, Falcao marched forward from the midway line towards the Valencia goal. Just as he seemed to have been stopped, the Colombian turned to his left foot and unleashed a stunning strike from the edge of the area which went in through the crossbar to cap off a spectacular night for Atlético.

However, Atleti again lost concentration in the very last seconds of the half. In the 94th minute Valencia, who only ever threatened from corners, scored when Ricardo Costa headed in a goal that offers them perspective for the game next week in Mestalla.

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Domínguez, Filipe; Diego (“88 Perea), Gabi, Mario, Arda (“82 Tiago); Adrián (“90 Salvio) and Falcao.

Goals: 1-0 Falcao (“18); 1-1 Jonas (“48); 2-1 Miranda (“49); 3-1 Adrián (“54); 4-1 Falcao (“78); 4-2 Ricardo Costa (“94)

  • SoLobo

    They got us angry at the end of the first half and they got 3 goals… Now they get us angry again at the end of the game… We shall see!!!

  • ratchet

    im very nervous about the away leg, we need a goal

  • Croatia Atletista

    I will ignore 2 goals in 2 added times which I will call pure fluke and bad luck…we were better the whole game and the scoreline doesn’t do any justice to describe how well we played!
    Te quiero Atleti!
    Great and eternal love from Split,Croatia…I would give a fortune to be on the stands tonight!
    One day…

  • Mais

    could just as easily have been 6-0 based on overall performance

  • JohnGreece

    Great win,excellent performance except Valencia’s corners.Simeone should do something about that because our positioning was tragic.We cannot concede goals like that,otherwise our efforts woud be worthless.So,proper preparation guys..

  • solari

    what a great performence that proves how more powerful we are than Valencia………and what a great goal by “el tigre”………..

  • Dircil

    I was really pissed off because of the goal at the end by Valencia. Anyway, our mission at Mestalla is to not let Valencia score more than 2 goals. Otherwise, we’re not gonna step further in this tournament. 2 goal lead doesnt seem to safe for Atletico cuz Valencia is unpredictable

  • Greta win keep it up if we get a goal or two in the second leg before valencia, thats it we’re through to the finals cuz thats a four goal cushion. Come on lets kick ESPANYOL’S @$$e$

  • Will

    That last goal from Valencia was sad. A 4-1 would be enough humiliation I think they deserve.

    But it’s ok, maybe our team would get much more confident than desired. 4-2 is safe and dangerous at the same time, we’ll need to be focused a today.

    Let’s destroy them!

  • Palestine-atleti

    What a performance from atletiiii… AMAZING game.. I am wondering if we have this spirit from the beggining of the season then for sure we must be infront of valencia in la liga… Falcao’s goal is unbelievable one of the best goals in the whole season

  • Nexus

    Awesome performance from our guys, neva mind abt d 2 away goals we still have a great chance to qualify. I beliv we wd jus scrape thru and we ll see wat happens in d finals. Aupa Atleti……Espanyol here we come. Beware!

  • shlomgar

    This game was amazing. Our players are amazing. Cholo is doing everything right.
    Now what about some la Liga success?

    Top play, Arda Turan. Making a great game into a splendid one. Giving an extra aspect to our game just when we needed it. I recall falling in love with our old game style relayed on the front wingers going inside with Simao, Reyes and amazing Maxi. I’m happy now because we have improved this style with pressure, ball control and fast attacking Full Backs.

    We must be in the finals! We won’t survive in la Mestalla, we shall triumph! This trophie should be painted red white and blue because it belongs to us!

  • Sebyk

    One of our best performances this season, great match especially by all our four attacking players. On the other hand, Valencia played pretty badly and we should have finished them, shame that bad defending of set pieces (I almost had a heart attack every time Valencia played a corner or a free kick) and a loss of concetration in the final minutes cost us so much. Conceding two goals at home is never good in cup football. 4:2 is still quite open and dangerous, the key will be scoring a goal and not conceding an early one…

    Only one final question – why can’t we play like this every match, especially in the league? We’d have no problems claiming the third place. We really are the team of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde…

  • palc

    Too bad we don’t play like this in the League. We’re a totally different team in the league. Has to do something with our motivation. Zero motivation in the league, 100% in European cups. This issue has to be fixed next season and I think Cholo is the right man to do so.

  • Ringo

    Hopefully Cholo knows how to handle preseason, so they can play at their best in more than 33-50% of the games.
    They’re too fatigued right now.
    If their stamina, etc is at a higher level, things could turn out great for this team.

  • shlomgar

    Yep, but we have to keep our aces. Falcao can’t go, Diego must stay! Cholo should lead Atleti for the next four years at least.
    This Real/Barca storm can be only broken by a strong united club like Atletico has become under Simeone. I truly believe we are two solid players away from challenging for a domestic title next year

  • Dircil

    “Falcao can’t go, Diego must stay!”, nice saying bro. Wish u were Atletico’s boss bro :))

  • Sebyk

    @shlomgar: No offence, but this is what I would call the “syndrome Atléti” O:-) After one or two excellent performances, a strong euphoria is created as media and Colchoneros fans declare that their team is able to challenge for the title, but then one or two horrific matches come and the situation is completely different. But this is Atlético – going from one extreme to another and performances like on a roller-coaster. Don’t know why, nobody knows probably, but I guess it might be partly due to the pressure that media (and also fans) create around the club. It’s the great expectations that destroy our club. All we need is a sensible long-term project and conceptual work (and get rid of the Gil family).
    On the other hand, I agree with you and do believe that Cholo is the one who could bring calmer time to Atléti and move the team somewhere else. He has fans on his side, this is the key and this lowers the pressure. But he has to be given time and resources – something that no manager has been given in Atlético since the Gil family took over.

  • ninutu19

    6 tikets Europa league final Bucarest
    [email protected]