Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia: Parejo earns point after Joao Felix injury

By Nicholas McGee 20 October 2019 37
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia: Parejo earns point after Joao Felix injury

Dani Parejo's wondrous late free-kick earned Valencia a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid, who were dealt a huge blow with an injury to Joao Felix on Saturday.

Atletico appeared on course for a routine 1-0 win thanks to Diego Costa's 36th-minute penalty, the striker finding the net from the spot in a game that saw he and Alvaro Morata miss great chances.

However, the much-maligned forward pair's profligacy was eventually punished as Joao Felix, the €126million close-season signing from Benfica, had to be helped off with 10 minutes remaining, leaving an Atletico side that had already used all three substitutes with 10 men.

Parejo quickly took advantage in stunning fashion, bending a sublime strike beyond Jan Oblak and into the top-right corner to secure a share of the spoils despite Lee Kang-in's injury-time red card.

Atletico approached Saturday's clash at the Wanda Metropolitano having failed to score in four of their past five league matches, and the opening stages proved an encapsulation of those struggles.

Costa and Morata each failed to notch in quick succession as the latter shot tamely at Jasper Cillessen and the former Chelsea man lashed wide with almost the entire goal to aim at.

Morata then failed to get a touch on the ball to divert Joao Felix's low cross into the unguarded net.

However, VAR gave the profligate duo a reprieve as Adrian Cordero Vega pointed to the spot after a review, judging Denis Cheryshev to have handled just inside the area, and Costa calmly slotted home from 12 yards, though he greeted his first goal in four matches with little celebration.

The second half was light on incident until a tangle between Parejo and Joao Felix saw the latter hobble of the pitch and down the tunnel.

Valencia then won a free-kick that Parejo spectacularly converted and only a brilliant diving save from Oblak denied him a match-winning second.

Lee rightly saw red after a VAR check for a rash challenge on Santiago Arias, but Atletico could not take advantage as they were left to settle for a draw that could end up being a crucial blow to their title hopes.

 

What does it mean? Double dismay for Atletico

With Barcelona victorious against Eibar and Real Madrid facing Real Mallorca later on Saturday, this could prove to be an extremely damaging stalemate for Atletico. Madrid can now go five points ahead of them at the top and, with Joao Felix facing tests on what the club branded a "strong right ankle twist", Diego Simeone may now have to plan for a future without a player expected to be a huge part of a title challenge.

Parejo rescues a point

Valencia had rarely threatened the Atletico goal but Parejo was ruthless in taking advantage of Joao Felix's misfortune. His free-kick was an early goal of the season contender and, if not for the reflexes of Oblak, he would have won the match for Los Che, who are unbeaten in five league games.

Frustration reigns for forward pair

Though Costa found the net from 12 yards, it was another difficult day for he and Morata as they failed to convert gilt-edged chances and make the points safe. The circumstances were extremely unfortunate, but Atletico eventually paid the price for their two strikers again being below par.

What's next?

Atletico and Valencia return to Champions League action in midweek. Atletico host Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday while Valencia travel to Lille a day later.

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Nicholas McGee

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