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Atlético in control against rivals Valencia

Published: Thursday 19 April 2012, 23.15CET
Club Atlético de Madrid 4-2 Valencia CF
Falcao struck twice as the 2010 winners took a big step towards a return to the final, though Ricardo Costa's late reply revived Valencia hopes.
by Paul Bryan
from Estadio Vicente Calderón

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Published: Thursday 19 April 2012, 23.15CET

Atlético in control against rivals Valencia

Club Atlético de Madrid 4-2 Valencia CF
Falcao struck twice as the 2010 winners took a big step towards a return to the final, though Ricardo Costa's late reply revived Valencia hopes.

Club Atlético de Madrid are favourites to advance to next month's UEFA Europa League final after a spectacular attacking display, but Ricardo Costa's 94th-minute header offers Valencia CF hope ahead of next week's return.

The visitors – under intense pressure almost throughout – could count themselves fortunate to enter the break on terms after Jonas cancelled out Falcao's opener. Second-half efforts from Miranda, Adrián López and a stunning second from Falcao put Atlético in control until Ricardo Costa rose to head in Tino Costa's corner deep into added time.

Perhaps fearing a repeat of the scoreless draw between the teams in the Liga here in February, Diego Simeone sent his team out in search of goals. A constant threat down the flank throughout the opening period, Arda Turan began menacing from as early as the third minute, cutting a pass back from the touch line to Diego, whose snapshot was parried by Diego Alves.

The visiting goalkeeper dealt comfortably with subsequent efforts from Falcao and Adrián, but he was well beaten on 18 minutes when the former rose to head in his ninth goal of this season's competition after Arda's centre bounced up off Jordi Alba.

Stunned by the hosts' relentless attacks, Unai Emery's side nonetheless signalled sporadic warnings of the threat they posed. Adil Rami shaved the post with a header from Tino Costa's corner and moments before the break rose highest again to meet another centre that dropped perfectly for Jonas to rifle in.

Determined not to let that disrupt their game plan, the 2010 winners continued their relentless pace into the second half. They were rewarded four minutes after the restart when Miranda got behind the Valencia defence to nod in Diego's free-kick.

It got even better for Los Rojiblancos when Adrián coolly angled in a low shot, having previously embarked on a solo run at the visiting back four. Looking to keep the tie alive ahead of next week's return, Alves blocked efforts from Adrián and Arda before throwing himself into a flying save to deny Diego's free-kick.

There was little the Brazilian could do about Falcao's second of the night, however, as the Colombian ignored team-mate Adrián to unleash a ferocious left-footed shot from the edge of the area that flew in off the crossbar. Home celebrations were tempered slightly, however, when Ricardo Costa headed Valencia a lifeline.

Last updated: 05/12/12 1.28CET

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