La Liga: Valencia 0 – 1 Atlético
Atlético just two victories away from La Liga title after big away win
Following their 9th consecutive victory Atlético Madrid are now only two wins away from their first La Liga title since 1996.
On Sunday the Colchoneros faced a big challenge on the road, which they overcame with a narrow victory. Against Valencia, a goal just before half time by Raúl García helped Atlético earn another three points, of which they now have 88.
Shortly before the break captain Gabi, who will miss Wednesday’s game versus Chelsea, chipped a ball over the defence into the path of Raúl. Goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who had been largely responsible for Atleti’s victory in the Copa del Rey earlier this year, rushed from his goalline but was beaten by a header from García.
Amazingly it was the 6th time this season the midfielder has scored from a header in league play, while RG8 has now scored an incredible 17 goals in all competitions.
The winning strike was only Atlético’s first attempt on target, but Cholo Simeone’s team have proven all season long to need few opportunities. Earlier David Villa had curled a shot just wide against his old team, while Koke sent a volley over the crossbar.
At the other end Valencia had created just a single opportunity in the first half, right at the start, when young striker Paco Álcacer shot wide just a minute into the game.
At the start of the second half Diego Costa should have put the game away when he went 1-on-1 with Guaita without a defender near. But the forward took too much time and ended up shooting straight at the goalkeeper.
Valencia had started with a conservative lineup, which included two right backs to stop the threat of Filipe Luís, but a goal down coach Pizzi decided to bring on forwards Vargas and Feghouli. Valencia are in the midst of a Europa League semifinal clash with Sevilla, but wanted to prevent a loss at home.
Los Che nearly got the equalizer after an hour of play, but Jonas’ header was deflected wide by Filipe. The home side created one more opportunity fifteen minutes before the end, but Feghouli struck just a hair wide as Atlético secured their 8th clean sheet in the last nine games.
Diego Costa should have decided the game a few minutes before the end, after he received a fantastic pass from substitute José Sosa. But again Costa hesitated and was beaten by Guaita when he tried to take the ball around the goalkeeper.
With a counterattack looming in the added time, right back Juanfran took out Pablo Piatti with a vicious challenge from behind, which resulted in a red card for the Spanish international. It didn’t hurt Atlético, as the team held on for a 1-0 victory.
|Raúl García 43'|
|27 April 2014|
|Raúl García (68')|
|Sosa (68') (93')|