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Valencia look to steal Atlético's thunder

Valencia CF trail Club Atlético de Madrid 4-2 from the first leg of their semi-final, but can take courage from the two sides' records against compatriots in Europe.

Adrián López scores Atlético's third goal in the semi-final first leg
Adrián López scores Atlético's third goal in the semi-final first leg ©Getty Images

Valencia CF have it all to do if they are to deny Club Atlético de Madrid a place in the UEFA Europa League final, with Unai Emery's team 4-2 down from the away leg.

• Falcao (18) put Atlético ahead, but Jonas (45+2) replied on the stroke of half time. Goals from Miranda (49), Adrián López (54) and Falcao's second of the night (79) then extended the hosts' lead, though Ricardo Costa (90+4) struck at the death to throw Valencia a lifeline.

Previous meetings
• Regular opponents in the Liga, Atlético have good reason to remember their only previous European meeting with Valencia fondly: they overcame their countrymen on away goals in the quarter-finals of the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League, going on to beat Fulham FC in the final.

• Under Quique Sánchez Flores, Atlético twice took the lead against Unai Emery's charges in the opening fixture – through Diego Forlán (59) and Antonio López (72) – with Manuel Fernandes (66) and David Villa (82) striking back to earn Valencia a 2-2 draw.

• Atlético goalkeeper David de Gea – now at Manchester United FC – was the hero in the second leg as he kept out some late chances to earn his side a 0-0 draw to win the tie on away goals.

• The teams for the first leg in Valencia on 1 April 2010 were:
Valencia: César Sánchez, Saltor, Maduro, Villa, Baraja, Mata (Vicente 76), Dealbert, Manuel Fernandes (Žigić 81), Pablo Hernández (Joaquín 70), Silva, Jordi Alba.
Atlético: De Gea, Antonio López, Forlán (Eduardo Salvio 78), Raúl García, Jurado (Ignacio Camacho 90+2), Agüero, Paulo Assunção, Ujfaluši, Álvaro Domínguez, Simão, Luis Perea.

• Valencia hold the upper hand in terms of league meetings with 55 wins to Atlético's 51 in their 144 Liga encounters. In September, Roberto Soldado's goal gave Valencia a 1-0 home victory against Atlético, with the return fixture in February ending goalless.

• In ten two-legged Spanish Cup contests, Atlético hold the upper hand with seven aggregate victories to Valencia's three. In addition to those games, Valencia overcame Atlético 3-0 in the 1999 Copa del Rey final, but Atlético beat Valencia 2-1 in the 1972 decider.

Match background
• Valencia have never lost a European home game against Liga rivals, while Atlético are yet to win a UEFA match on the road in Spain.

• Valencia's 12 games against Spanish compatriots in UEFA competition have ended W6 D3 L3 (W4 D1 L0 at home).

• Those results include the final of the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League, where Valencia were beaten 3-0 by Real Madrid CF in Paris.

• Atlético have played ten games against other Spanish sides in Europe, including those previous meetings with Valencia, with the record W4 D2 L4 (W0 D1 L4 away from home).

• Those results include the 1958/59 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final against Madrid, which Atlético lost on a replay in Zaragoza after trading home wins.

• Valencia had won all four of their two-legged ties against Spanish sides until they lost out to Atlético in that 2009/10 UEFA Cup quarter-final.

• Valencia have met Liga rivals in a previous semi-final in this competition, beating Villarreal CF 1-0 on aggregate in 2003/04. They went on to defeat Olympique de Marseille 2-0 in Gothenburg.

• Atlético come into the second leg on a ten-game UEFA Europa League winning streak (including four victories on their travels), since losing 2-0 at Udinese Calcio in the group stage.

• Atlético's record on the road since entering this season's competition in the third qualifying round is an impressive W6 D1 L1.

• Valencia have not lost in nine European home games (seven wins and two draws) since a 1-0 UEFA Champions League group stage loss to Manchester United FC on 29 September 2010.

• Valencia have won their last five home games on the bounce, scoring four times in each of their last two. That run also includes 3-1 and 7-0 triumphs.

• Valencia have not lost in 21 UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League home games (14 wins and seven draws) since going down 1-0 against FC Internazionale Milano in the 2001/02 quarter-finals.

• Valencia are the only side left in this season’s competition who competed in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Team facts
• Falcao's first-leg double drew him level with FC Schalke 04's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the top of the UEFA Europa League top scorers' table with ten goals. The Colombia striker set a record in 2010/11 with 17 goals in FC Porto's triumphant campaign. No player has ended up as top scorer in successive editions of this competition before.

• Falcao has had 20 shots on goal, meaning he has a strike rate of one goal every two efforts on target.

• With three goals, France defender Adil Rami has been Valencia's most prolific UEFA Europa League scorer this season. Two-goal midfielder Mehmet Topal and striker Jonas are the only other players to have registered more than once since Valencia moved across from the UEFA Champions League.

• Mehmet Topal and Atlético's Arda Turan were team-mates at Galatasaray AŞ from 2006 to 2010.

• Valencia's Argentinian midfielder Éver Banega – out injured for the remainder of the campaign – spent the 2008/09 season on loan at Atlético.

• Atlético are the most prolific scorers left in the competition with 29 goals – four more than Athletic Club. They are the strongest finishers in the tournament in another respect, too, with seven of those goals coming between the 76th minute and the final whistle.

• Valencia have scored four of their 14 goals since transferring to the UEFA Europa League in the 15 minutes following the half-time interval.

• Adrián López and Falcao are the only players to have featured in all 13 of Atlético’s games since the start of the group stage, starting 11 each. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has played more minutes, though, featuring in all 1080 minutes of his 12 games.

• Only Jonas has appeared in all seven of Valencia's games since the round of 32.

• Should Atlético make it, the final would be their 100th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League appearance.

• Diego Simeone replaced Gregorio Manzano as Atlético coach on 23 December. The former Argentina midfielder had two spells at the club as a player, winning a domestic double in 1995/96. He lifted the 1997/98 UEFA Cup with Inter and is coaching in Europe for a second time, having helped Calcio Catania avoid relegation from Serie A in 2010/11.

• Simeone turns 42 on 28 April, two days after the semi-final decider.

• The son and grandson of famous goalkeepers, Valencia trainer Emery had a modest playing career but learned quickly as a coach at Lorca Deportiva CF and UD Almería, with whom he won promotion to the Liga. Valencia chose him to replace Ronald Koeman as coach in 2008.

Final focus
• Whoever prevails in this tie will be the nominal home side in the final in Bucharest's National Arena on 9 May.

• Valencia have been to the Romanian capital four times, with the record W1 D1 L2. Atlético’s three games in Bucharest ended W1 D1 L1.

• Valencia have not met either of their potential final opponents – Sporting Clube de Portugal or Athletic Club – in Europe.

• Atlético beat Sporting on away goals in the round of 16 en route to winning the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League.

• If Athletic beat Sporting, the competition will be decided in an all-Spanish final. There was an all-Spanish UEFA Cup showpiece in 2006/07, when Sevilla FC beat RCD Espanyol on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

• Of the last nine editions of this competition, four have been won by Spanish sides, with two going to Portuguese clubs.

• In 2010/11, the UEFA Europa League semi-finals featured three Portuguese teams and one Spanish one; the situation is reversed this time around, with three Spanish clubs and one from over the border in Portugal.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here: