A Simão goal in the 19th minute seemed enough for Atleti to leave Valencia with three points, but a late equaliser by Aduriz ruined Quique’s return to the Mestalla.
The coach will have been happy with his team’s performance in the first half and the solid defending for most of the game, but will be worried about the lack of creativity going forward.
Raúl García and Paulo Assunção did well to win the ball in midfield, but the lack of a playmaker like Tiago hurt Atleti and the team couldn’t keep possession.
Due to good pressure by Forlán and Diego Costa, Valencia initially weren’t able to construct any attacks, but when Unai Emery brought on three extra forwards our defence couldn’t hold on any longer.
With Soldado, Jordi Alba and Pablo Hérnandez on, Valencia started to whip in crosses from the wings. It was the latter who set up Valencia’s equaliser, when he got the ball to David Albelda.
The rigid midfielder delivered a cross to the second post where Aritz Aduriz towered above Luis Perea and beat De Gea only seven minutes before full time. The young goalkeeper had become an obsession for Valencia’s forwards, after making some incredible saves in the second half.
Ìn the first half De Gea didn’t have much to do. Aduriz headed over the bar early on and just before half time Juan Mata shot wide from distance, but Valencia couldn’t break through our defence.
If Diego Forlán had scored the 2-0 for Atlético, we might have comfortably sat out the second half. The Uruguayan went past goalkeeper César, but instead of walking the ball into the net he lost control and did little as it bounced wide on the wrong side of the post.
Earlier, Forlán had set up the opening goal. A brilliant long pass by the current la Liga topscorer set up Antonio López for a quick counter attack in the 19th minute. Our captain found Simão, who calmly put it past César.
Line-up: De Gea; Perea, Godín, Domínguez, López; Reyes, Raúl García, Assunção, Simão; Forlán and Diego Costa
Subs: Fran Mérida (“76), Mario Suárez (“82), Valera (“93)
Goals: 0-1 Simão; 1-1 Aduriz