Valencia, Atletico open La Liga season with hard-fought draw

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Valencia (Spain), Aug 21 (IANS) Valencia and Atletico Madrid battled to a 1-1 draw here in the 2018-2019 La Liga opener for both clubs.

The 46,000-plus in the stands at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on Monday were treated to just the kind of match everyone expected between the two strong, hard-working sides, reports Efe news.

The hosts, who finished fourth in La Liga last season, held their own against runners-up Atletico, who came into the league opener fresh off their victory over capital rivals Real Madrid in the European Super Cup.

Atleti and Valencia alternated long spells of possession without result until the 27th minute, when Antoine Griezmann’s pass found Angel Correa unmarked in front of goal and he converted to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

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Playing with the advantage, the Colchoneros slowed the pace of the match and threatened again before the break, coming closest with a shot by Diego Costa that Valencia goalkeeper Neto managed to turn aside.

The home side were stronger to start the second half, but Atletico’s lead appeared secure until the 56th minute, when a rare defensive error by Diego Godin allowed Rodrigo to score off a cross from Wass.

Roused by the goal, the Valencia supporters became more vocal and the team responded, though Atleti weathered the surge before reviving their earlier dominance in the final 15 minutes.

Even so, keeper Jan Oblak had to make stops against Wass and former Colchonero Kevin Gameiro to preserve the draw.

–IANS

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