Luis Suarez scored a superb staff purpose as Atletico Madrid got here from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 on Sunday and transfer seven factors clear on the high of La Liga. After Real Madrid thrashed Alaves on Saturday, Barca had earlier adopted swimsuit with a scrappy victory over Elche. But Atletico had been undeterred within the capital, as their appreciable benefit was restored once more, with a sport in hand. “We don’t get carried away or think too far ahead, we think about getting better,” mentioned Atletico coach Diego Simeone.
Suarez completed off a flowing transfer that had began virtually on Atletico’s goal-line earlier than substitute Angel Correa capped one other slick string of passes to finish Valencia’s resistance.
The guests had taken an early lead in beautiful style, Uros Racic curling into the highest nook from 35 yards however Joao Felix equalised and Atletico got here again, in a approach that has begun to really feel anticipated.
Felix was changed by Correa after an hour by Diego Simeone after helping Suarez and scoring a purpose for himself that ought to ship a message to his coach, who has handed the 21-year-old a spell on the bench in current weeks.
“It’s not written that footballers have to play 90 minutes,” mentioned Simeone. “Joao scored a goal, made an assist, he came off and on came Correa, who scored a goal and was close to another. The competition is healthy.”
Simeone is aware of the stress will mount because the La Liga trophy comes extra into view, but his staff are displaying an assuredness now that’s providing little encouragement for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
They had hope when Valencia took the lead on 11 minutes, Racic working onto Jose Gaya’s go and wrapping his left foot across the ball to ship it bending into the highest right-hand nook.
He celebrated by looking for out his under-pressure coach Javi Gracia, however the benefit was short-lived as Felix stabbed in on the volley on the again publish after holding off his marker Thierry Correia from a nook.
With the extra attacking Renan Lodi and Yannick Carrasco taking part in left and proper wing-back within the second half, Atletico opened up Valencia twice with two excellent, sweeping strikes.
The first began in their very own proper nook with Stefan Savic, the ball performed throughout the again and into midfield the place Mario Hermoso drove a looking out go ahead to Felix on the left. He slipped in Suarez, who opened his physique and completed from the angle.
It was no fluke as a result of the third purpose was virtually pretty much as good, some slick passing by means of midfield releasing Marcos Llorente down the fitting and he pulled again for Correa to sidefoot in.
Barca win with out Messi
Barcelona gained once more with out the suspended Lionel Messi as targets from Frenkie de Jong and Riqui Puig had been sufficient to safe a scruffy 2-0 win over Elche.
De Jong poked the ball over the road simply earlier than half-time on the Martinez Valero, which might have proved a suitably scrappy winner earlier than Puig got here off the bench to go in a second late on.
Despite an uninspiring efficiency, Ronald Koeman can be relieved to see Barca make it two consecutive victories with out Messi and since their loss within the Spanish Super Cup closing final weekend to Athletic Bilbao, after an extra-time Copa del Rey victory over Cornella in midweek.
Messi remains to be serving his punishment for being despatched off in Seville however the Argentinian can be accessible once more for Wednesday’s cup tie at Rayo Vallecano.
In his absence, De Jong stepped up, persevering with his personal resurgence in current weeks with one of many easiest targets he’ll ever rating after which an help, following a extra spectacular run and cross for Puig.
“We are better this year. We’ve had to play all our games away and in La Liga we have won all of them so I think we have done well,” mentioned De Jong. “For me, playing better is not just about goals and assists but I’m happy of course to score and assist today.”
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