Madrid, April 25 (IANS) Atletico Madrid squandered the lead twice against visiting Valencia before pulling out a 3-2 win after a late goal by Angel Correa.
Valencia made errors on Wednesday night that proved costly, but the story of the match was Atletico’s expertise in capitalising on those chances, reports Efe news.
The home side jumped out to a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the contest on a well-constructed goal that came after Valencia midfielder Goncalo Guedes had surrendered possession in his own area.
A half-dozen Atletico players then proceeded to touch the ball before it was sent over to the right side to Juanfran, who delivered an exquisite pass to a diving Alvaro Morato for a close-range score.
Valencia, however, got the equaliser on a goal that was every bit as well-crafted.
Francis Coquelin got the play started with a long-range pass to Carlos Soler on the right side.
Santi Mina then received the ball from Soler and made a remarkable individual play to manoeuver around defender Diego Godin and then find Kevin Gameiro, who fired past Jan Oblak from just outside the goal box in the 35th minute.
Atletico Madrid, however, took the lead once again four minutes into the second half.
The play began when the home side gained possession in their own half of the field and then launched a rapid counter-attack that Antoine Griezmann finished off by heading home a cross from Thomas Lemar.
Defender Daniel Wass could have done more to inhibit the goal but did not catch sight of Lemar’s pass, or Griezmann’s move toward the ball, until it was too late.
Valencia, however, was far from finished and managed to equalize a second time in the 77th minute after Saul Niguez was called for a hand ball in the area and the video assistant referee (VAR) system confirmed the on-field decision.
Dani Parejo did the honours from the penalty spot to give Valencia hope of at least coming away with one point, but it was not to be.
Super-sub Correa, who had come on in the 61st minute for Filipe Luis, scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 81st minute when he curled a long-range shot around defender Mouctar Diakhaby and into the right side of the net past goalkeeper Neto.