Alexa

Atletico draw 2-2 at Valencia for Europa advantage

Atletico draw 2-2 at Valencia for Europa advantage

Valencia twice rallied to salvage a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid, whose away goals gave it the early advantage in the all-Spanish Europa league quarterfinal on Thursday.
After Jordi Alba failed to break up a forward pass near the halfway line, Sergio Aguero raced clear on goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez and fed Diego Forlan, who tapped the opener into an open goal just before the hour mark.
Manuel Fernandes equalized with a powerful shot from outside the area eight minutes later, then Atletico went back ahead in the 72nd when Antonio Lopez headed home Alvaro Dominguez's flicked-on corner kick.
David Villa had a handful of opportunities saved before notching his 24th of the season to even it for good in the 82nd. The Spain striker latched on to substitute Vicente Rodriguez's centering pass to beat goalkeeper David De Gea with a quick shot.
Atletico goes into the return leg next Thursday at Vicente Calderon Stadium with the advantage after an up-tempo game in which both sides enjoyed clear scoring attempts throughout.
"It would be wrong to think this is a good result because the series is still 50-50 in this moment," Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores said on his first return to Valencia, where he coached for two seasons.
The clubs' first ever meeting in Europe _ and 41st all-Spanish matchup overall _ was unrelenting as the teams traded counterattacks from the opening whistle.
Despite early chances during the frantic first half _ when Valencia enjoyed the better chances through Villa, Juanma Mata and Pablo Hernandez _ neither team could break through, with Sabrosa Simao curling off the far post of Valencia's goal after 13 minutes.
De Gea stopped Fernandes' low shot in the 22nd as Valencia pressured until Lopez headed wide in the 40th, with the Spanish capital club eventually getting on the scoreboard first.
"An error cost us the first goal," Valencia coach Unai Emery said. "But now we'll go with the idea of playing a great game and making the next round. We've got faith and we're optimistic."


Updated : 2021-01-22 02:18 GMT+08:00