La Liga: Valencia 3 – 1 Atlético
Rojiblancos fall to first league defeat as Valencia move top
After an emphatic 4-0 win at home in the Calderón last week against an in form Sevilla, the rojiblancos would have hoped for another 3 important points on their travels to the Mestalla. However, the home side took the 3 points after a ruthless opening 12 minutes, going on to secure a crucial 3-1 win.
It took only 6 minutes before a lapse of concentration between Moya and Miranda left Atleti trailing – uncharacteristic defending from a Rojiblanco perspective.
A minute later Valencia struck once more to make it 2-0 after Andre Gomes strolled through the Atleti defence, finishing exquisitely past a helpless Moya.
Definitely not the start Simeone would have hoped for, his team were shaken and Valencia continued to press. A tenth minute tribute to a legend of the Mestalla, Mario Kempes followed, after the 60 year-old underwent heart surgery last week.
A tough task became almost impossible after Otamendi headed home from a corner in the 13th minute, leaving the Atléticos in complete shock. Such defending was reminiscent of the Quique Sánchez Flora era, rather than what we have been used to under Simeone in the last few years.
A half chance soon fell to Mandzukic as he tried to flick a cross from the left in at the far post, but the header fell at the wrong side of the post.
Simeone’s men began to gain a little momentum and seen more and more of the ball. It paid off in the 28th minute as Mandzukic scored his 4th goal of the season after the ball fell to him, after a speculative Tiago strike parried by Diego Alves into the path of the Croatian. This gave Atleti hope of salvaging something from this match, with an hour still to find another goal or two.
Soon after, referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes denied Atleti a clear penalty after the ball struck a hand in the Valencia box, but justice was done shortly after when he awarded a penalty for a hand ball against José Gaya.
Guilherme Siqueira stepped up to take it, but he could not beat Diego Alves and left Atleti still 3-1 down at the break.
Mandzukic was clearly upset, shaking his head as he walked down the tunnel having wanted to take the kick himself. A massive moment in the game, one that left us wondering what might have happened had he converted.
The red and whites came out for the second half a little more fired up and were threatening the Los Che backline on a more constant basis. Mandzukic coming close an attempt from outside the box, but Diego Alves was equal to it.
With half an hour to go, Nuno Santo made a defensive change, introducing Orban on for Piatti and opting to play for the rest of the game on the counter attack.
Griezmann, still yet to really kick-off his career at Atleti, was next to threaten with a free kick just over the bar, his last impact on the game as he was replaced by Alessio Cerci moments later.
The next 5 minutes saw a series of substitutions by both managers, Raul Jiménez and Raúl García coming on for Arda Turan and Tiago respectively. The Valencia boss sent on Felipe Augusto and Feghouli on to try and tighten things up for the goalscorer Andre Gomes and Paco Alcácer.
Atleti struggled to create any clear cut chances, until late on when Cerci thought he had scored his first goal in Spanish football. However, it was ruled out for a handball ,which consequently seen him recieve a second booking.
The final whistle soon followed to end a miserable afternoon for Atlético, who suffered defeat for the first time this season in La Liga. Up next is a must win fixture against an Espanyol side, who have just 1 win from their opening 6 matches so far.
|Miranda (og) 6||Mandzukic 29|
|Andre Gomes 7|
|04 October 2014|