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Honours even as Valencia fight back against Atleti

Pin Rodrigo equalised for Valencia with an emphatic finish. AFP
Rodrigo equalised for Valencia with an emphatic finish. AFP

Honours even as Valencia fight back against Atleti

Andrew McAlister by Andrew McAlister @rfutbol - 0 3,564

On the back of an impressive Super Cup victory over Real Madrid, Atletico visited the Mestalla where Valencia have impressed in recent years. Simeone's men could only manage a draw, however, as Valencia showed they mean business this season.

New signing Thomas Lemar started on the left side for Atleti, though Rodri did not keep his place in the starting lineup. For "Los Murciélagos", new additions Denis Cheryshev, Michy Batshuayi and Kevin Gameiro, signed from Simeone's side this year, all started on the bench.

Marcelino's Valencia began the better side, with both Wass and Rodrigo cracking long-range efforts close to Oblak´s goal. Costa also came close at the other end after some neat trickery on the edge of the 18-yard box, but his effort was tame and straight at Neto in the Valencia goal. 

Then, in the 26th minute, Atletico showed their true class. Griezmann received the ball on the right-hand side of the box and cut inside before playing an incredible reverse ball with his left-foot. A sublime touch from Correa gave the Argentine space in front of Neto's goal, and he placed the ball near to the right post to open the scoring. 

Atleti had several more chances before half-time with Diego Costa coming close twice, though the pace of the game slowed after these with the visitors controlling possession. Half-time came with the scoreline still at 1-0. 

The second-half seemed to start slowly, but this soon changed. The Mestalla's crowd began to roar and Valencia were spurred on by the fans. Marcelino's team had Atleti pressed back, and following a string of headers in the box, Rodrigo found himself with an incredible chance to score. The Spaniard, who has been subject to interest from Real Madrid this summer, chested down the ball and finished emphatically into the roof of the net past Oblak.

Valencia saw more of the ball after this, and again came close as defender Paulista clipped the post with a header. 

Simeone then had to change things, with Gelson Martins entering the fray for Antoine Griezmann. The Portuguese winger used his pace and forced several crosses into the area, but Savic and Godin both failed to convert from great opportunities. 

Following this came more end-to-end football as both sides searched for a winner. Wass found himself in a lot of space for Valencia going forward, though his shot was blocked by a rushing Oblak, then five minutes later Saúl's free kick soared over the crossbar. Despite chances for both sides throughout the second half, the game finished 1-1. 

 

 

 

Andrew McAlister

Andrew McAlister

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