Atletico Madrid 3 Valencia 2: Late Correa stunner seals win as Barca's title party is delayed

By Ryan Benson 25 April 2019 310
Atletico Madrid 3 Valencia 2: Late Correa stunner seals win as Barca's title party is delayed

Angel Correa's stunning late strike secured Atletico Madrid a 3-2 win over Valencia at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday to delay Barcelona's confirmation as LaLiga champions.

Defeat for Diego Simeone's men would have seen Barca clinch a second successive title without even playing, but they showed admirable character to see off a resolute Valencia side who had seemingly clinched a valuable point in the top-four battle with a 77th-minute Dani Parejo penalty.

Atletico were good value for their lead when Alvaro Morata opened the scoring with less than 10 minutes on the clock, but they lacked intensity and Kevin Gameiro levelled for Valencia against his former club.

Griezmann ensured Atletico went back in front in the 49th minute at the end of a lovely move and, although Parejo converted a contentious spot-kick to seemingly earn Valencia a commendable draw, Correa's long-range effort ended the visitors' hopes.

Atletico began with great purpose and, after threatening with a couple of earlier deliveries, took the lead in the ninth minute – Morata turning home Juanfran's brilliant right-wing cross.

Valencia gradually improved as the half progressed and levelled nine minutes before the interval, Santi Mina skilfully flicking the ball over Diego Godin's head in the box and picking out Gameiro for an easy finish.

They were not level for long, however, as Atletico restored their lead just after the break – Griezmann nipping in front of Jose Gaya to head in Thomas Lemar's precise cross from the left flank.

Jan Oblak was helpless to keep Parejo's penalty out towards the end, as a VAR review saw Saul Niguez punished – somewhat harshly – for handball from a Gameiro effort.

But Correa – a second-half substitute for Filipe Luis – saved the day four minutes later, sending an unstoppable effort to Neto's left from distance to seal the points.

 

What does it mean? Barca forced to wait, Sevilla and Getafe given a boost

In the grand scheme of things, Barca will probably not be too bothered about not clinching the title without playing, given they will surely wrap things up soon anyway.

The defeat matters more for Valencia with Sevilla and Getafe both due to play on Thursday and only two points separate the three.

Marcelino's men can, perhaps, take solace from the fact Getafe face Real Madrid next, while Sevilla still have to visit the Wanda.

Lemar lively on the left

Following his big-money move from Monaco, it is fair to say Lemar's Atletico career has been underwhelming, but he produced one of his better displays on Wednesday, making himself a strong outlet on the left with several good deliveries, setting up Griezmann's goal with one of them.

Savic the weak link

Granted, it must be difficult to catch the eye when Diego Godin is so good next to him, but Savic looked uneasy against Gameiro and Goncalo Guedes, while he made just one tackle and no interceptions all game.

Key Opta Facts:

- Antoine Griezmann has scored 15 goals in LaLiga in each of his five seasons for Atletico Madrid. 
- Only Griezmann (eight) has scored more goals than Alvaro Morata (six) for Atletico in LaLiga in 2019. 
- Atletico are unbeaten in their last nine LaLiga games versus Valencia (W6 D3), their best unbeaten run against them in the competition.
- Marcelino has taken charge of his 100th game for Valencia in all competitions (50W D28 L22). 
- Angel Correa has scored 12 goals as a substitute in LaLiga, more than any other player since 2015-16. 
- Thomas Lemar has assisted Griezmann for more goals than any other player this season in all competitions (three). 
- Valencia's Kevin Gameiro has scored his first goal against Atletico in LaLiga (seven appearances).

What's next?

Atletico are at home again on Saturday, hosting Real Valladolid. Valencia's top-four battle resumes against Eibar at Mestalla the following day.

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Ryan Benson

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