Apr 27, 2014 at 4pm UK at ​Mestalla
Valencia
0-1
AtleticoAtletico Madrid

Jonas (37'), Fuego (86'), Vargas (90')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Garcia (43')
Godin (71')
Juanfran (90')

Live Commentary: Valencia 0-1 Atletico Madrid - as it happened

Live Commentary: Valencia 0-1 Atletico - as it happened
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at the Mestalla where Atletico Madrid beat Valencia 1-0.

Atletico Madrid travelled to the Mestalla on Sunday knowing that three points against Valencia would see them move six points clear at the top of the La Liga table.

The visitors took a one-goal lead into the interval following a close-range header from Raul Garcia.

Both sides had chances to add to the scoring in the second 45 minutes, but it remained 1-0 as Atletico took another big step towards the league title.

The capital outfit finished the match with 10 men, however, following a late red card for Juanfran.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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3.31pmAfternoon all! Sports Mole's La Liga coverage continues as Valencia welcome Atletico Madrid to the Mestalla. The home side have taken just 45 points from their 34 league games this season, with that total leaving them eighth. Atletico, meanwhile, have their sights firmly set on the title. Three wins from their last four league games would secure their first Spanish championship in close to 20 years.

3.34pmTEAMS:

VALENCIA: Guaita; Joao, Costa, Mathieu; Gaya; Fuego, Parejo; Barragan, Jonas, Piatti; Alcacer

ATLETICO: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe; Tiago, Gabi; Koke, Garcia, Villa; Costa


3.37pmSo there we have it. Paco Alcacer continues as the lone forward for Valencia this afternoon, while there are also returns to the XI for Jonas and Pablo Piatti. Highly-rated youngster Jose Luis Gaya is also handed a start for the home side. Atletico, meanwhile, are at almost full strength. It is their usual back five, while Tiago and David Villa both start, with Arda Turan still not fit enough for the first XI.

3.40pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Atletico have won two of the last five matches, with Valencia winning once and the further two games ending in draws. Atletico knocked Valencia out of the Copa del Rey this season and also won 3-0 at the Calderon in the league earlier in the campaign. However, Valencia were 2-0 winners in this stadium last season. It promises to be a fascinating affair this afternoon.

3.43pmValencia were in Europa League semi-final action against La Liga rivals Sevilla on Thursday, but lost the first leg 2-0 at the Estadio Ramon. It has been a largely disappointing campaign for the home side in terms of the league, but success in Europe would certainly ease some of the criticism aimed at the players and manager. The second leg of the semi-final takes place in this stadium next week.

3.46pmA top-six finish had been the target for Valencia in La Liga this season, but it just has not happened. As it stands, they sit in eighth spot in the table, some 17 points from fourth-place Athletic Bilbao and 12 points from Real Sociedad, who are sixth. Valencia's home form this season has also been patchy with five defeats from their 17 games at the Mestalla, but they have won nine times in the process.

3.49pmFinding the back of the net has not been too much of an issue for Valencia this season with 47 league goals thus far. Atletico, however, are the third-highest scorers in the division on 74. Down the other end, Atletico have the best defensive record in the league having conceded just 22 times – keeping an incredible 19 clean sheets in the process. Valencia, however, have conceded 47 times thus far.

3.52pmAs mentioned, Atletico top the table with just four games of the campaign remaining. Three wins would ensure that they pick up the title ahead of their trip to Barcelona on the final weekend of the campaign. They have won 27 of their 34 league games, with that run of form leaving them on 85 points, three points ahead of second-place Real Madrid and four ahead of Barcelona. Diego Simeone's side are extremely close.

3.55pmLike Valencia, Atletico were also in European action during the week. The Spanish outfit welcomed Chelsea to the Calderon for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, with the score finishing goalless. It wasn't quite the result that Simeone would have wanted, but it still hands the capital outfit a serious chance of making the final when the second leg occurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Any score draw will do.

3.58pmPREDICTION: Make no mistake about it, this is a really tough test for Atletico. Valencia are not in the best form, but the Mestalla is always a difficult ground for opposition. Atletico have always found a way to get the job done this season, but I am backing a 1-1 draw in Valencia this afternoon.

1 minHere we go then. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital in this type of contest. Wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium as the away side get the first 45 minutes of football underway.

2 minAs expected, it is a full house inside the stadium this afternoon. This is a serious test for Atletico make no mistake about that. Bright start from the home side as Piatti drives down the right before attempting to roll a low cross towards Jonas, but Tiago is out to clear at the vital moment. High intensity start.

3 minCHANCE! Almost the perfect start from the home side as Alcacer turns on the edge of the box before attempting to whip one into the bottom corner, but his effort just moves wide of Courtois's post.

5 minThe pressure continues from the home side as Jonas combines with Piatti before delivering into the box, but Juanfran just does enough to clear the danger. Not too much from Atletico in the opening five minutes, with Costa left isolated thus far. You just get the feeling that we could have a real classic at the Mestalla.

7 minPossession football from Valencia as they break down the right with Jonas, who turns into the box before finding Barragan, but Luis is across to clear for a corner. It must be said that there is a sensational atmosphere inside the stadium this afternoon and the home side's positive start is further raising the noise.

10 minSlightly untidy period of the match in terms of challenges in the last couple of moments as Dani Parejo dives into a late tackle with Godin, but the referee does not produce a card. Atletico look long for Costa moments later, but the Spanish international is surrounded by three defenders and the danger is cleared for a throw.

12 minHalf-chance for Costa as the Atletico forward meets a through pass from Villa, but Guaita is out to claim at the vital moment. The offside flag, however, is raised moments later. Valencia are down the other end with Pereira in the next attack, but his cross is straight into the arms of Courtois. End-to-end football, but still the match remains goalless after what has been a high-tempo 12 minutes at the Calderon.

14 minCLOSE! Villa tries the spectacular for the away side as he turns outside the box before floating one towards the far corner, but it just drops high of the crossbar. Almost a wonderful goal.

16 minAppears to be a slight problem for Costa as the Atletico forward is tumbled to the ground by Alcacer, which leaves the Spanish international holding his shoulder. However, he does return to his feet moments later. Atletico have just started to take control of the possession, but Valencia remain a threat on the break.

18 minPossession football from the home side in the last couple of moments, but they are finding it difficult to break through. A free kick does arrive as Barragan is felled by Tiago, but the resulting set piece from Parejo is headed clear by Miranda. Atletico break with Villa moments later, but Mathieu clears the Spaniard's through pass, which was towards Costa. Still goalless, but plenty of attacking intent from both sides.

20 minBoth sides have been guilty of losing possession too easily in the final third in the last couple of minutes, which is contributing to the end-to-end feel of the match. Meanwhile, the referee continues to become involved to deal with a number of late challenges. Chances have been at a premium since the early stages.

23 minJust a reminder that Barcelona are in action later this evening against Villarreal. As it stands, the Catalan outfit would be five points behind Atletico, but could cut the gap to two with victory at El Madrigal. Valencia break down the right with Gaya following smart work from Pereira, but his cross is cleared.

25 minThe referee just needs to keep a lid on proceedings as the match threatens to boil over. Garcia clashes with Fuego in the middle of the park, which hands Atletico a free kick. The set piece is delivered by Gabi towards Godin, but Barragan is on hand to clear the danger. Little over 20 minutes of the first period remaining.

27 minWell, 27 minutes in and not too much has happened in terms of clear chances. Valencia have had their moments, but Atletico are in control of the ball. Piatti looks for the run of Alcacer with a through pass, but Courtois is out to clear the danger, before releasing Juanfran down the opposite side. Still goalless.

30 minHalf-chance for the away side as Luis finds some space inside the Valencia box before attempting to drill one into the bottom corner, but Barragan is on hand to make the block. The resulting corner is delivered by Koke, but Mathieu is on hand to clear once more. Both defences have been on top thus far at the Mestalla.

32 minThe free kick count continues to rise as Miranda clashes with Alcacer, which leads to the home side gaining yet another free kick. Atletico threaten once more as Villa rolls a through pass towards Costa, but Mathieu is on hand to clear once more. Little over 10 minutes of the half remaining and still no breakthrough.

34 minClash of the Costas as Ricardo clashes with Diego following a high challenge. However, the referee is on hand to calm proceedings at the vital moment. Luis delivers a dangerous cross into the Valencia box moments later, but it is too long for Koke, who had broken from midfield. Not too much from Valencia in the last few moments.

36 minStill no yellow card in this match, despite both sets of players calling for bookings each time a challenge is made. Atletico deliver another free kick into the Valencia box, but once more Guaita is on hand to claim. The home side are down the other end with Alcacer in the next attack, but his cross is into Courtois.

38 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Atletico as Costa drives down the right before delivering towards Koke, but his effort is high of the crossbar. Clear opportunity for the capital outfit.

38 minBOOKING! Valencia are handed the first yellow card of the match as Jonas kicks the ball away. It is a surprise that it has taken that long due to the number of challenges that have occurred.

40 minAnother half-chance for Costa as the Atletico forward drives into the Valencia half, but the Spaniard had been in an offside position when he collected the ball. Valencia are down the other end with Piatti moments later, but his effort is straight into the arms of Courtois, who has been relatively untroubled thus far.

42 minThis first period has flown past, but clear opportunities have been at a premium. It is the home supporters that continue to make most of the noise inside the stadium, but Atletico have also travelled well. This is the type of match that Atletico have won 1-0 this season. Can they do it again? Valencia will have other ideas. Little under five minutes of the first period to play at the Mestalla.

43 minGOAL! Valencia 0-1 Atletico (Garcia)

44 minAtletico take the lead with 43 minutes on the clock as Garcia meets a Gabi cross before looping a header into the back of the net. That is Garcia's 17th goal of the season. Brilliant time to score!

45 min+1Whistles around the stadium as Valencia pick up another free kick in the Atletico half following a late challenge from Garcia on Parejo. Pereira breaks down the right for the home side moments later, but he hits the deck under little contact from Luis. Can Valencia force an equaliser before the interval?

45 min+2HALF-TIME: Valencia 0-1 Atletico

4.46pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Atletico leading 1-0 courtesy of a header from Garcia moments before the interval. Valencia have had their moments, but it is a case of 'same old, same old' for Atletico, who show no signs of stopping in their battle for the title this season.

4.51pmSTATISTICS: The home side have had 59% of the possession thus far, but have managed just two attempts - one of which has been on target. Atletico, meanwhile, have hit the target with just one of their four attempts. Just the one booking in the first period, with Jonas having his name taken for Valencia.

4.56pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench this afternoon in the shape of Fede, Feghouli and Vargas - all of which played in the Europa League semi-final last week. Atletico, meanwhile, have the likes of Adrian, Diego, Sosa and Turan on their bench at the Mestalla.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital in terms of the final result. Those connected with Real Madrid and Barcelona will hope for a Valencia response. Valencia get the half underway.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will consider alterations if the score remains 1-0 for the next 20 minutes or so. Bright start to the half from Valencia as Pereira drives down the right, but his cross is deflected out for a throw-in.

50 minThe pressure from Valencia continues as Pereira forces a corner from the right. The resulting set piece is delivered into the area by Piatti, but Courtois is out to claim at the vital moment. Not too much to report in terms of Atletico pressure, but they continue to soak up the pressure inside their own penalty area.

52 minYou just get the feeling that Atletico need another goal to be comfortable in this match. There is no question that Valencia will get chances as the match advances. Costa threatens to break into the Valencia box once more, but is ruled offside despite replays showing that the striker was level with the final defender.

52 minCHANCE! Incredible chance for Costa as the Atletico forward breaks into a one-on-one situation with Guaita, but the Valencia stopper makes the save from close range. What an opportunity!

54 minValencia continue to enjoy possession of the ball, but Atletico remain a serious threat on the counter. I would be astounded if we had seen the last of the goals at the Mestalla as Valencia force another corner down the right. Thus far, their set pieces have been too close to Courtois, who has been a monster this season.

54 minSUB! Valencia make their first change of the match as Vargas replaces Parejo.

57 minStrong pressure in wide positions from the home side as Gaya and then Pereira take it in turns to deliver into the box, but Atletico continue to clear the danger. Villa attempts to break for Atletico moments later, but Gaya fells the Spanish international. Little over 30 minutes remaining and still Atletico lead 1-0.

59 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Vargas meets a cross from the right, but his header just drops wide of the post as another opportunity comes and goes for Valencia. Still no movement on the Atletico bench, but Turan would be the obvious replacement should Simeone look to influence proceedings from the sidelines.

60 minSUB! Atletico make their first change as Turan enters the field in place of Villa.

62 minNot too much to report in terms of clear opportunities in the last couple of moments as Atletico continue to close the space in the final third. Alcacer attempts to force the issue for Valencia after dancing into the box, but Godin is across to clear at the vital moment. The intensity has certainly dipped a little.

62 minSUB! Second change for the home side as Feghouli replaces Barragan in midfield.

64 minValencia just cannot find way through this Atletico shield despite dominating possession of the ball. Pereira is down the right before delivering a cross towards Vargas, but Miranda is on hand to clear once more. You just get the feeling that Atletico are going to create something on the counter as the pressure continues.

65 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side as Jonas meets a cross from Fuego, but his header is saved by Courtois. Brilliant goalkeeping from the Belgian international once more.

67 minAtletico have just managed to quell some of the pressure in the last couple of minutes with a period of possession, but the leaders are not creating too much down the other end. Garcia attempts to slide a through pass towards Garcia, but Mathieu is across to make the challenge, before releasing Feghouli down the left.

69 minSUB! Atletico make their second change of the match as Sosa replaces the goalscorer Garcia.

70 minOpportunity for Atletico to threaten from a free kick as Alcacer brings Costa to the ground just outside the box. The resulting set piece is played short by Gabi before Luis delivers into the box, but Guaita collects. Both managers have just one permitted change remaining with little over 20 minutes to play in Valencia.

72 minBOOKING! Godin has his name taken for Atletico following a pull on Alcacer. The match is really stretched at the moment as Valencia continue to commit players in the final third.

73 minPoor from Valencia in terms of set-piece delivery as Courtois is allowed to come and collect twice in quick succession. Not too much in terms of clear chances in the last few moments, with Atletico still ahead.

76 minCHANCE! Opportunity for Valencia to level as Feghouli finds some space just inside the Atletico box before firing one towards the bottom corner, but his effort flashes wide of the post. This is not over for Valencia make no mistake about that. Still around 15 minutes of normal time remaining.

78 minAnother half-chance for Valencia as Feghouli works the ball to Alcacer, but the youngster can only curl his effort high and wide of the crossbar, much to the frustration of the home supporters. Not too much in terms of attacking pressure from Atletico, however, as the visitors continue to sit in and absorb the pressure.

80 minJust a reminder that as it stands, Atletico would be six points clear of second-place Real Madrid and seven clear of Barcelona, but would have played one game more than their title rivals. Valencia are not finished in this match, however, as the pressure continues to arrive in the shape of Jonas, Alcacer and Feghouli.

82 minJonas and Piatti combine on the edge of the Atletico box before the latter attempts to drive past Godin, but Courtois is out to clear. Atletico are down the other end with Sosa moments later, but he cannot find Costa with a low cross. Little under 10 minutes of football remaining. Can Atletico hold on?

83 minSUB! Third and final change for Valencia as Fede enters in place of Jonas.

84 minSosa takes matters into his own hands for Atletico after finding some space outside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the target. Moments later, Koke takes a nasty one following a collision with Gaya.

86 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments as Atletico continue to close out the match. Sosa forces the issue with a deep cross from the right, but it is into the side netting. Little under five minutes for Atletico to hold on. It would be a serious step towards the La Liga title.

86 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the away side as Costa drives into the Valencia box before rounding Guaita and attempting to find the bottom corner, but somehow the Valencia stopper makes the save.

86 minBOOKING! Fuego enters the book for Valencia following a late challenge on Turan.

89 minValencia continue to force the issue with a series of crosses into the Atletico box, but Courtois, Miranda and Godin remain untroubled in dealing with the danger. Sensational noise inside the stadium at the moment as the away supporters make their voices heard. Little over one minute of normal time to play in Valencia.

90 min+1BOOKING! Vargas enters the book for Valencia after handling inside the Atletico half.

90 min+2The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the second of those. Atletico are comfortable at the moment as they keep hold of the possession. They are almost there.

90 min+2RED CARD! Juanfran (Atletico)

90 min+3Wow! Atletico are reduced to 10 men as Juanfran puts in a really poor challenge on Piatti, who was breaking into the Atletico half. Only time will tell whether it was worth it.

90 min+3SUB! Third and final change for Atletico as Alderweireld replaces Sosa, who only entered himself in the second period. Can Valencia force an unlikely late point here?

90 min+4FULL-TIME: Valencia 0-1 Atletico

5.50pmSo there we have it. It is nine straight league wins for Atletico, who move six points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga. Valencia, meanwhile, remain in eighth. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us again later for Villarreal against Barcelona. Until then!

Atletico Madrid's coach Diego Simeone looks on prior to kick-off in the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Chelsea on April 22, 2014
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6Villarreal95131510516
7Real Betis95131917216
8Sevilla951398116
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16GironaGirona9144713-67
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