Valencia CF has done it, 3-1 victory over last years league champion in what was a thrilling and gut wrenching game.
The last 10 minutes of the game felt like 30 minutes, as Atletico Madrid were all out attacking and trying to get something out of the game. Valencia CF defense stood ground though and managed to more or less deal with Atletico's never ending attacks.
The match started with both sides battling mostly in the middle of the park trying to exert control over the match and stamp their authority. This would soon change though as Valencia CF score or should I say have their first goal scored form them, thanks to an error from Miranda scoring an own goal. It was a lucky goal there is no doubt over that, but Valencia CF were exerting a lot of pressure and surely that contributed to Miranda's own goal.
Atletico Madrid were obviously shocked from their own goal and this allowed Valencia CF to double their lead to 2-0 just a minute later thanks to Andre Gomes who dribbled past Atletico Madrid defense and calmly slotted the ball into the net with a wonderful and precise finish.
Few minutes after the last goal Valencia CF would score again, this time thanks to Otamendi from a corner kick by Piatti. With the Atletico Madrid defense worrying about Paco and Moreno, they didn't properly mark Otamendi who rushed in and headed the ball into the net to make it 3-0 for Valencia CF after just 13 minutes.
Atletico Madrid would try to respond, but were kept at bay for good period of time, this would change in the 30th minute though as Mandzukic scores a goal from a rebound ball.
As the game was wielding down toward the end of the first half, the referee decides to take things into his own hands and hand Atletico Madrid a non existent penalty. Supposedly Gaya touched the ball with his hand, but from all the replays he didn't touch the ball at all, let alone his hand.
Thankfully though this injustice won't stand and Diego Alves ends up saving the penalty from Guilherme Siqueira who's shot was really lackluster as if subconsciously he didn't want to score from such a ridiculous non existent penalty.
Anyways the second half came and it was mostly Atletico Madrid, Valencia CF were solid defensively and didn't allow any dangerous chances in the penalty area as opposed to the first half, but were pinched down in their own half and Atletico Madrid did have few dangerous shots towards goal. Nino responded by replacing Piatti with Orban in the hopes of solidifying the defense.
Long story short if I don't want this to be 5000 word article is that Atletico had the initiative for all of the second half and were the ones attacking, they had few dangerous chances, but nothing concrete, nothing that was too dangerous and Valencia CF sometimes scrappy, but stood its ground and Valencia CF were able to close out the match.
There was one very late chance for Atletico Madrid where they actually scored, but it was deemed handball and the goal didn't count, in fact Cerci got a second yellow card for complaining.
So there you have it ladies and gentleman, Valencia CF won over last seasons league champion in a pretty convincing fashion if you look at the score. The play as always wasn't perfect and there is obviously so much room for improvement, but its good to know that even with less than great performance the team is able to win.
The fact that there is so much more room for improvement is positive, which means the team can be so much better.
Valencia CF: Diego; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Gomes(Felipe 71 min), Parejo; Moreno, Paco(Feghouli 75 min), Piatti(Orban 63 min)
Atletico Madrid: Moya; Siquera, Godin, Gamez, Miranda; Tiago(Garcia 73 min), Koke; Griezman(Cerci 66 min), Gabi, Arda(Jimenez 69 min), Mandzukic
Miranda (o.g) 1-0, 6 min.
Andre Gomes 2-0, 7 min.
Nicolas Otamendi 3-0, 13 min.
Mario Mandzukic 3-1, 29 min.
Diego 7 - Saved a penalty to keep Valencia's two goal lead and had two more good saves.
Barragan 7 - Good defending, stifling most of the attacks from his side.
Mustafi 6.5 - Had few interceptions and blocks, but I'm still not sold on his skill, still think Vezo had a better partnership with Otamendi and the defense was more secure.
Otamendi 8 - Rock at the back, had numerous interceptions, solid positioning and dealing with ease with what Atletico Madrid threw at him, topped his solid defensive showing with a goal.
Gaya 7.5 - Always a threat down that left wing, combined well with Piatti time and time again and could have easily had two assists if the players finished off his crosses.
Fuego 7 - Now this is the type of match he needs to shine and he did solidly. Defended with utmost of concentration and always precisely positioned cutting off Atletico's attacks.
Parejo 6.5 - Confident in possession, but had limited options to pass to, especially since Atletico were very aggressive in their pressing. Good defensive showing.
Gomes 7 - Scored a wonderful goal, got past a defender and slotted the ball in the net from a tight angle. Was good on counter attacks and helped out consistently in defense.
Moreno 6 - Was mostly reserved to defensive duties as Atletico Madrid had the attacking initiative for most of the match, but was dangerous when he got the ball at his feet.
Paco 6 - Lovely assist to Gomes as he flicked the ball from behind towards Gomes who went on to score a goal. Was a threat with his movement and positioning even though he didn't have a lot of service.
Piatti 6 - Provided an assist as Otamendi scored from his corner kick, was otherwise dangerous in the early stages in the first half and combined well with Gaya on the flank. Was removed early in the second half to make way for Orban as Nuno looked to defend the result.
Orban 6.5 - Slotted in well in the defense and make few good tackles at the back. Headed the ball away from one dangerous Atletico cross.
Felipe 6 - Slotted in nicely for Gomes and defended well. Kept it simple and didn't make any mistakes.
Feghouli 6 - Not enough time, but was lively when he came in and helped keep possession on that right side.