Atlético Madrid had won their first 13 league games at the Vicente Calderón, but have dropped points in the two games since ending their streak.
After falling to Real Sociedad at home three weeks ago, the Colchoneros shared the points with Valencia on Sunday night in a 1-1 draw.
The final score was reached after just six minutes, when Jonas and Radamel Falcao had already found the back of the net. The result was even more disappointing for Atleti, considering not only that their opponents were missing several key players and are currently trailing us by 15 points, but also because we let the opportunity slip to leapfrog over Real Madrid in second place.
Atlético didn’t appear to be ready for the game tonight and looked nothing like the aggressive team that have been shutting out opponents so effectively this season. Early on, Piatti made Godín look like an amateur by easily shoving him aside, before sending off a cross to Valdez that barely missed his teammate.
In the fifth minute Valencia did strike effectively. João Pereira was allowed to pick out a teammate in the box and his cross reached Jonas, who controlled the ball and left Courtois without a chance from close range.
But within a single minute the Rojiblancos struck back. Arda Turan cut inside and delivered a precise cross to Radamel Falcao, who escaped the offside trap and volleyed the ball past Diego Alves to tie up the game.
But despite getting back into the game so quickly, Atleti still weren’t up to par. Valencia controlled the match in the first half and was the only team creating opportunities. Thibaut Courtois did well to deny Éver Banega and later Dani Parejo, as Los Ché piled up the pressure.
Courtois made an excellent double save to deny João Pereira and Jonas, and was lent a helping hand by Valdez who blocked a shot from his own teammate Andrés Guardado.
In the last minute of the first half, Diego Alves did well to parry a free kick by Gabi, which was only Atleti’s second attempt of the match. But after the break Atlético were much improved and took control over the match. The team looked much stronger and created a series of chances. First Filipe’s shot was deflected wide for a corner, and a few moments later, Diego Alves rushed out to stop Diego Costa after Falcao had launched his partner with a ball over the top.
The home side earned a series of corner kicks, one of them allowing Falcao to head towards goal. His header was handled by Jonas, and although the Brazilian’s handball was unintentional and the ball was not goal-bound, Atleti still should have been rewarded a penalty kick.
In the remaining half hour Valencia retreated, allowing Atlético to dominate possession. But Simeone’s team lacked creativity tonight and Cholo, who was forced to replace the injured Arda in the first half, decided not to make any changes despite his team’s best efforts to break down Valencia’s defence. The team couldn’t manage it, and the game ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw.
Line-up: Courtois; Manquillo, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Arda (“27 Raúl García), Gabi, Mario, Koke; Diego Costa and Falcao.
Goals: 0-1 Jonas (“5); 1-1 Falcao (“6)