Friday, 20 April 2012

Falcao gives Atletico advantage

Radamel Falcao continued his stunning form, this season, with two more goals to guide Atletico Madrid to a 4-2 victory in their Europa League semi-final first-leg against Valencia.

The Columbian striker’s brace, along with goals from Miranda and Adrian Lopez, ensured that the Madrid side would head to the Mestalla for the return leg with a two-goal advantage.

Falcao’s first came just before the 20-minute mark, when the striker headed home from an Adrian cross to give the hosts the lead. Valencia managed to get themselves back into the tie just before the half-time break, when an Adil Rami knockdown was finished by Jonas.

Atletico, the 2010 Europa League champions, came out of the break full of life, quickly gaining the advantage courtesy of Miranda’s head and some shocking marking by the Valencia defenders.

Adrian slipped home his side’s third soon after, coolly sliding in from a tight angle, after some more poor marking.

The tournament’s top scorer, Falcao, made it 4-1 on the night with 12 minutes remaining, smashing home a belting effort from outside the box, to send the home fans away in dreamland.

Ricardo Costa gave the visitors some hope, with the last touch of the match, when he headed a late goal, giving Valencia something to hang onto for the return leg.

The man-of-the-match, Falcao, admitted that it was a case of job done following the comprehensive victory. While not claiming the tie was all but over, the striker made it clear Atletico had achieved what they had set out to do: achieve a healthy lead going into the second-leg.

"The important thing is that we won convincingly. The victory is ours, as well as the advantage in the tie, so we have done a very good job." Madrid are now very strong favourites for the win in the return leg in the Europa League odds.

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