MX23RW : Monday, January 21 04:01:22

Result: Atletico Madrid too strong for 10-man Valencia

Atletico Madrid beat 10-man Valencia 3-1 at the Mestalla on Sunday night to move within eight points of La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Fernando Torres and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco both came off the bench to score as Atletico Madrid recorded a 3-1 victory at 10-man Valencia in Sunday's La Liga clash at the Mestalla.

Denis Cheryshev had cancelled out an Antoine Griezmann strike to leave the two teams on terms at the break, but Fernando Torres netted on his 300th Atletico appearance and Carrasco on his return from injury to move the capital side to within eight points of leaders Barcelona in the table.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring during the La Liga game between Valencia and Atletico Madrid on March 6, 2016© Getty Images

Valencia boss Gary Neville recalled Joao Cancelo to his XI, with the right-back available after serving a one-match suspension. Fellow full-back Jose Gaya, however, missed out through a suspension of his own, allowing on-loan Guilherme Siqueira to start against his parent club.

As for Atletico, key centre-back Diego Godin was ruled out late in the afternoon with gastroenteritis, meaning that there was a start for young Frenchman Lucas Hernandez alongside Jose Gimenez at the back.

Matias Kranevitter, meanwhile, replaced the suspended Augusto Fernandez for his first La Liga start. In the final third, it was youth over experience as Luciano Vietto started ahead of Fernando Torres.

Koke and Enzo Perez clash during the La Liga game between Valencia and Atletico Madrid on March 6, 2016© AFP

The first half-chance of the match came to Atletico in the eighth minute, but Koke, after finding space outside the Valencia box, could only drag his low attempt wide of the post, before Gimenez headed over moments later.

It was Atletico that continued to look the most likely and the first clear chance of the contest fell to Vietto, but the Argentine fired over the crossbar from a dangerous position. Vietto had an even better opportunity in the 20th minute, but could only curl wide of the target after controlling a loose ball inside the box.

Valencia's first shot on target came in the 22nd minute when Cheryshev demonstrated fine technique to place a volley on target, but Jan Oblak was down to make a smart save.

Gary Neville conducts his side during the La Liga game between Valencia and Atletico Madrid on March 6, 2016© Getty Images

Atletico made the breakthrough in the 24th minute, however, when Griezmann found a yard of space outside the Valencia box before drilling a low effort past the reach of Diego Alves and into the bottom corner.

Valencia were behind for just four minutes though as a Paco Alcacer header fell into the path of Cheryshev, who drilled his effort past Oblak to send the home supporters into jubilation.

Vietto continued to pass up chances down the other end, meanwhile, as the Argentine hit the side-netting in the 33rd minute after an excellent piece of work from Griezmann.

Alcacer's link with Cheryshev was a feature of the first period and the pair combined once again five minutes before the interval, but the latter fired over the crossbar in what was the final chance of the first 45 minutes.

Denis Cheryshev celebrates scoring during the La Liga game between Valencia and Atletico Madrid on March 6, 2016© AFP

Gabi had the first attempt of the second period in the 53rd minute, but the Atletico skipper fired wide of Alves's post, before Sofiane Feghouli had a strike blocked behind during an end-to-end period of the match.

Feghouli then set up Alcacer as Valencia came close on the hour, but the Spanish international could not beat Oblak from close range as the final 30 minutes approached with the score still level at 1-1.

An outstanding piece of goalkeeping from Alves then stopped Atletico regaining the lead as the Brazilian somehow kept out a fierce close-range effort from Vietto, which he pushed onto the crossbar.

Both sides continued to commit players forward and Saul Niguez headed just wide of the Valencia post 20 minutes from time during a period where both managers utilised their substitutes' bench.

Fernando Torres points and scores during the La Liga game between Valencia and Atletico Madrid on March 6, 2016© AFP

Indeed, Fernando Torres came off the bench in the 63rd minute and he scored in the 72nd - volleying home at the far post from a corner to send the visitors ahead at a key stage of the match.

Another Atletico substitute - Carrasco - came close to making it 3-1 Atletico 15 minutes from time, but his strike from distance just whistled wide of the post.

Yannick Carrasco presents his crotch to the camera after scoring during the La Liga game between Valencia and Atletico Madrid on March 6, 2016© AFP

Valencia's task became harder 10 minutes from time when Aderlan Santos picked up his second yellow card for a late challenge on Fernando Torres and Atletico made sure of the points in the 85th minute when Carrasco beat Alves from inside the box.

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Denis Cheryshev of Real Madrid in action during the Pre Season match between Olympique Lyonnais and Real Madrid at Gerland Stadium on July 24, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona20135253203344
2Atletico MadridAtletico20118130131741
3Real Madrid2011363024636
4Sevilla209653122933
5AlavesAlaves209562223-132
6Getafe208752516931
7Real Betis208572525029
8Valencia2051141918126
9Real Sociedad207582524126
10Levante207583235-326
11GironaGirona205962326-324
12Espanyol197392127-624
13Leganes205871721-423
14Athletic Bilbao2041152126-523
15Real Valladolid205781723-622
16EibarEibar195772128-722
17Celta Vigo205693234-221
18Rayo Vallecano2055102436-1220
19Villarreal203982126-518
20Huesca2025131739-2211

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