Atlético’s 13 game streak of consecutive wins came to an end in Mestalla on Saturday night.
A fantastic volley by Roberto Soldado and a late goal by Nelson Valdez decided round 10 of la Liga in Valencia’s favour.
The home side only created two attempts on target, but were deadly efficient and brought the gap in the league down to 11 points.
In the first half Valencia dominated possession, but Atleti created most opportunities, although it took awhile for the teams to get going, as the match was often interrupted because of fouls from either side.
Atlético nearly scored when Miranda flicked on a header by Arda, but his attempt was saved on the goalline. Radamel Falcao was brought down as he battled for the rebound but his penalty claim was ignored by referee Teixeira Vitienes. While he was on the ground, Falcao was hit in the head by Soldado’s boot as the Valencia captain cleared the ball. Replays suggested that the awkward movement by Soldado might have been intentional, which should’ve led to his expulsion but again Teixeira Vitienes didn’t react.
The man who perhaps should’ve been sent off, then decided the game with a fantastic goal a few minutes later. Adil Rami played a ball over the top and Soldado smashed a fantastic volley past Thibaut Courtois.
After half an hour Radamel Falcao lost his balance just as he was about to shoot, after he had controlled a lovely through ball by Adrián on his chest. Just before the break Atleti again came close, but Adil Rami deflected Filipe’s cross just before Adrián could place it in the back of the net.
In the second half the Rojiblancos created more opportunities, with Arda first shooting wide and then enabling Juanfran, whose shot was also off target. At the hour mark Radamel Falcao saw his header land on top of the goal.
Simeone had started with Emre, who played as a deep lying playmaker, but with the Turk’s retracted role there was little connection from the midfield with our attack. This changed when the coach brought on Cebolla and Atleti took over the reigns in the second half.
Cristian Rodríguez, who provided some much needed width coming from the bench, played a pass into Arda Turan’s path but the Turk was only able to hit the side netting from a tight angle.
Since the goal Valencia hadn’t created any opportunities, but in the final minutes the game opened up, which created two shooting opportunities which weren’t converted by Andrés Guardado.
The home side finished the game with ten men, because Ricardo Costa received his marching orders after picking up a second booking. He joined his coach Pellegrino, who had been sent off just before the break in a game that had more cards than shot opportunities.
In the stoppage time substitute Nelson Valdez decided the game. After a great set up by Feghouli, the Paraguayan rounded the goalkeeper and put the ball in the back of the net.
And so Valencia became the first team to beat Atlético since the 11th of April when we were beaten by Real Madrid. In the meantime
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Tiago (“70 Mario), Gabi (“67 Raúl García); Arda, Emre (“57 Cristian Rodríguez), Adrián; and Falcao.
Goals: 1-0 Soldado (“21); 2-0 Valdez (“90+5)