Atletico miss chance to move into second

31 March 2013 09:17

Atletico Madrid missed the chance to move back into second place of La Liga as they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Valencia on Sunday.

Real Madrid's 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza on Saturday had given Los Rojiblancos the chance to overtake their city rivals, but Valencia were well worthy of their point as they boosted their own chances of claiming the final Champions League slot.

The game got off to a flying start with two goals in the opening five minutes as Jonas put Valencia in front before Radamel Falcao bundled home an equaliser 60 seconds later.

However, despite having the better of the second-half, Atletico didn't have the invention needed to create another clear-cut chance and they remain in third, 15 points behind leaders Barcelona.

Atletico had gone eight games without conceding at home in the league until Real Sociedad inflicted their first defeat at the Calderon this season in their last league outing at home.

And Valencia took advantage of a nervy start from the hosts as Jonas prodded through Thibaut Courtois' legs from Joao Pereira's cross.

Diego Simeone's men were level within a minute though as Arda Turan's cross was expertly guided in at the far corner by Falcao for his 22nd league goal of the campaign.

Despite that setback Valencia went onto control the first-half as Atletico struggled to contain the midfield trio of Dani Parejo, Ever Banega and Tino Costa.

Parejo saw a long-range free-kick fly just over the bar before Courtois was forced into a fine double save by efforts from Pablo Piatti and Jonas.

However, for all their dominance Valencia could easily have gone into the break behind as Diego Alves did well to parry Gabi's free-kick a minute before half-time.

That effort seemed to galvanise Atletico who went on to control the second period.

Filipe Luis saw a goalbound shot deflected into the side-netting before Alves had to be quick off his line to deny Diego Costa a clear run on goal.

The home fans were then angry when Jonas appeared to have clearly handled inside his own area, but referee Javier Estrada Fernandez waved play on.

But without the injured Arda, who was replaced by Raul Garcia, they lacked the guile needed to unlock a well-organised Valencia backline and indeed the visitors nearly took all three points three minutes from time as a thumping long-range effort from Parejo whistled just past the post.

Source: AFP

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