Europa League

April 26, 2012



0 - 1

Atletico Madrid

Europa League

19:05 +00:00, April 26, 2012

Mestalla, Spain

Referee: Damir Skomina

2nd Leg: 2 - 5 (Agg)


    Thanks for keeping my company tonight. It's been strange fun. Until the next time, ladies and gentlemen.


    Keeping my eyes peeled for animosity, but Atletico are not interested in it just yet. They are dancing a merry jig, the players set for Bucharest.


    Atletico are through the final.


    FULL-TIME: Valencia 0-1 Atletico (agg: 2-5)

  • 90'

    Definitely get the feeling it will get spiky when the whistle goes. Just witnessed a kick at a player off the ball.

  • 90'

    Three minutes of added time will be played.

  • 90'

    In the other game, Athletic have struck a late goal. Set for an all-Spanish final.

  • 89'

    Many empty seats now, although not in the away end, many of who are shirtless and singing merrily.

  • 88'

    The season isn't over for Valencia, who still have work to do to secure third place, and with it Champions League qualification.

  • 87'

    Juanfran, who I have barely mentioned, has worked tirelessly.

  • 86'

    I'm anticipating some sour scenes post the final whistle. Tiago will likely be lurking for Soldado, and vice versa. Some nasty words exchanged as the former left the field.

  • 85'

    What a peculiar game this has been.

  • 84'

    Ooo, good hit. Tino Costa winds up and hits a sweet strike goalwards. Courtois springs to his left and parries away.

  • 83'

    Diego is replaced by Koke.

  • 82'

    Tiago must feel pig sick now. One moment of red mist, and he misses a showpiece.

  • 81'

    Apologies if that was a little erratic, but it was an odd timeline of events. Regardless, Atletico are well on course to be in the final.

  • 80'

    What in the hell is going on? Right. The ref pointed to the spot after Tiago seemingly handballed. But, replays show he did not. It was the Valencia player. It then all kicked off, and Tiago was sent off for losing his head and twice flicking a hand at Soldado's face. The penalty was then not given, and play goes on.

  • 79'


  • 79'

    Tiago is sent off. He will miss the final.

  • 79'

    Soldado is furious after Tiago may have caught his face with a swipe.

  • 79'

    I am trying to make sense of this, so bear with me.

  • 78'

    And now it is all kicking off. Melee.

  • 77'

    But it shouldn't have been.

  • 76'

    Penalty to Valencia!

  • 75'

    Corner to Valencia! Could the comeback be on? No.

  • 74'

    Turan is replaced by Eduardo Salvio.

  • 73'

    Another change in the offing, it seems.

  • 72'

    Greedy from Falcao. He embarked on a solo run, and did very well, but he seemed intent on having a shot himself, despite others screaming for the ball. Eventually, he struck it against a defender.

  • 71'

    Adrian, buoyed by his wicked goal earlier, tries a scooped pass (the best type of pass) but the flag is up for offside.

  • 70'

    Tino Costa tries his luck from around 30 yards out. Needless to say, it is not troubling Courtois.

  • 69'

    Mathieu already looks shattered. He's only been on for a few minutes.

  • 68'

    Valencia will be frustrated, for in the first half they had the pressure and chances to break the deadlock and therefore up the ante. Alas, Courtois was in super duper form.

  • 67'

    Another Valencia change: Tino Costa enters the fray for Parejo.

  • 66'

    The home fans, meanwhile, are deflated. They players have lost their first half verve too.

  • 65'

    Very nearly 2-0 on the night. Falcao is fed into a scoring position and his low shot is palmed away by goalkeeper Alves.

  • 64'

    The pocket of Atletico fans are understandably going potty.

  • 63'

    I'm waxing lyrical about this goal to my colleagues in the office, but every time it is replayed the television producers choose a rotten angle. Argh.

  • 62'

    It's now 5-2 on aggregate in favour of Atletico. That's it over, yeah?

  • 61'

    Now that is some goal. Some goal, I tell thee. The ball is swept to the right channel and Lopez controls on his chest. He then proceeds to spank it beautifully into the far corner. It had power and devastating precision.

  • 60'

    GOAL!!! Adrian Lopez BANGS one in!

  • 59'

    Canales has injured his knee, and very badly at that. He is stretchered off. Mathieu is his replacement.

  • 58'

    Uh-oh, Canales is crocked.

  • 57'

    Aduriz trots on for Jonas.

  • 56'

    Poor cross from Turan, played blind and therefore not finding a team-mate. Change imminent.

  • 55'

    A foray forward from Atletico. An outside of the boot cross is skewed into the area and almost causes issues, only for Falcao to lose his footing.

  • 54'

    There was a change! Gabi on for Suarez.

  • 53'

    Groans from the home fans as Barragan slices a cross out for a goal kick. A red-faced moment.

  • 52'

    Alba continues to be Valencia's best outlet as he nips in down the left. The winger clips the ball into the box, but the lurking Soldado was not lurking well enough. The ball is cleared.

  • 51'

    Courtois, though, smothers the delivery. It was a whipped cross, but no-one was there to attack it.

  • 50'

    Corner to Valencia, and the crowd are roused.

  • 49'

    Simeone will be encouraged with how this second period has started. Valencia have struggled to rediscover their rhythm.

  • 48'

    Still unsure about the change. Will bring it to you once I get clarification. Anywho, on we go. Atletico have the ball at the moment, with Valencia eager to get it back and begin the second half how they played out the majority of the first.

  • 47'

    There's been a change, I think. To be confirmed.

  • 46'

    Second half: Atletico get the second period under way.


    In the other game, between Athletic and Sporting, the former lead 2-1, which means, if things stay the same, they are heading for extra-time.


    Well that was eventful, without there being any goals. Valencia were impressive in their approach play, only to find themselves up against an inspired Courtois. Got some thoughts on that 45 minutes? Tell me on the Twitter .


    Half-time: Valencia 0-0 Atletico (aggregate 2-4).

  • 45'

    One minute of added time will be played.

  • 44'

    Atletico enjoying some rare possession. This time they go forward in numbers and almost open up an angle, only for Los Che to throw bodies at the surge.

  • 43'

    Another chance for Atletico as Valencia defend poorly. A long ball from the keeper bounces through and Lopez looks to latch onto it as the defence dithers. Alves, though, sweeps up.

  • 42'

    ...Turan scampers clear after a corner was booted. He squares for Falcao, but Alves is swiftly off his line to tip away from the striker. Key interception.

  • 41'

    But wait, a counter from Atletico...

  • 40'

    Superb once more from Courtois. Valencia attacked with verve and a shot at the near post threatened to creep in, only for the keeper to tip wide.

  • 39'

    The momentum from Valencia's play as ebbed a little. Emery runs his hands through his dark hair as a result.

  • 38'

    "Valencia superb so far without scoring," says ESPN's Janusz Michallik.

  • 37'

    In all seriousness, mentally this is a tough one for Atletico, in the knowledge they are two in front.

  • 36'

    Courtois is booked for timewasting. It seemed only a matter of TIME before that happened. *chuckles*

  • 35'

    Backs to the wall stuff, wave after wave of pressure, and other such clich├ęs.

  • 34'

    Barragan is the man this time creating the problems as he dinks down the right and rolls across the six-yard box, but Atletico hack away.

  • 33'

    Atletico will undoubtedly be delighted to get to half-time with the scoreline goalless. That scenario looks unlikely, though.

  • 32'

    Soldado attempts a flicked header after a cross from the right, but it was a difficult technique and the ball flashes wide of the far post.

  • 31'

    The camera continues to pan to a worried-looking Simeone. No images of Emery yet, who dubbed this the biggest match of his career, I think I read.

  • 30'

    Atletico cannot keep the ball. It's a little like Barca v Chelsea on Tuesday. I said a little, ok.

  • 29'

    Canales might have made more of that pulling in the box. He was perhaps too honest, if there is such a thing.

  • 28'

    The home fans are up in arms after Canales tumbles in the box. It was scrappy defending.

  • 27'

    Valencia's pressing has been incessant. Like dogs with a bone.

  • 26'

    Ah. Valencia spring clear down the right. Soldado cuts back and he must score (you say to yourself in your mind) but they make a hash of it. Courtois now has it.

  • 25'

    Respite for Atletico, as they have the ball higher up the field. They swiftly lose it though.

  • 24'

    Courtois forced into a more comfortable save this time, and again it is Soldado with the strike, which was rather central. No wonder Simeone looked peeved, perhaps he had a whiff this wave of pressure was in the offing.

  • 23'

    Valencia are turning the screw. Twice in the space of a minute Soldado, usually so clinical, has threatened to break the deadlock on the night. Alas, he doesn't yet have his shooting boots on.

  • 22'

    Terrific from Courtois. A corner is played to the edge of the box and then banged at goal. Courtois makes a super stop after it had been deflected his way on its route to goal. A rebound arises but the Belgian is up again to block wide. What out, Petr Cech.

  • 21'


  • 20'

    "What this game needs is some Dutch technical excellence," says one fellow on the Twitter. He might have a point. Might.

  • 19'

    Atletico coach Simeone is screaming something on the touchline. He looks angry.

  • 18'

    It comes to nothing. There's been a goal in the other game, but don't you dare leave me for that. This match has goals in it. I can smell them. They smell like freshly baked bread. French bread at that.

  • 17'

    Corner to Valencia!

  • 16'

    Not the most thrilling of ties thus far, in all honesty. A goal would pep it up a little. That much is true.

  • 15'

    Atletico are defending stoutly when necessary. They also look nifty on the counter, but perhaps a little reluctant to go for the jugular when the opportunity arises, considering their position.

  • 14'

    Arda Turan, his first real involvement, has a pop from distance. It threatens to dip in but ultimately floats over the bar.

  • 13'

    Not given. But it could have been. Canales latched onto a searching ball and looked to dink round his man, who hung a leg. Canales went down in the box, but the ref waved play on. SEEN 'EM GIVEN.

  • 12'

    Was that a penalty?

  • 11'

    A bit tentative from Valencia in their build up. Atletico happy to absorb the pressure and play a deep line. Tactical insight there. Sort of.

  • 10'

    The referee of tonight's game is Damir Skomina, in case you were wondering.

  • 9'

    Brighter from Valencia as Alba keeps in a speeding pass before cutting back to Albelda. He looks for the run of Soldado but that through ball is heavy and skids out of play.

  • 8'

    Soldado sprints into the right channel but Godin is quickly across to shut the door, so to speak.

  • 7'

    Excellent goalkeeping from Courtois as he claims a looping free-kick. Commanding play, from the man whose parent club is Chelsea.

  • 6'

    First shot on goal is by Tiago, but it is a pea-roller. Alves scoops up the ball, almost embarrassed to do so.

  • 5'

    Falcao is down after a robust aerial challenge. He looked in some discomfort but is now back on his feet.

  • 4'

    Parejo looks to float in a free-kick, but his effort is pants and possession is lost.

  • 3'

    Fancy footwork from Diego almost creates an opening, alas it breaks down.

  • 2'

    Courtois already taking a bit of time over a goal kick. The cheeky fellow.

  • 1'

    Kick-off: Valencia get us under way.


    Kick-off is very soon indeed. I hope you're excited. Football has been ruddy brilliant this week, reminding us why we love it.


    There could be goals tonight, that much is possible. Soldado plays, and he scores for fun, while Falcao is also in action - he also hits the back of the net for japes.


    We've had two CRACKING European ties this week. Let's make it a third and fourth (Athletic host Sporting in the other game), eh.


    Valencia, tonight's home side, trail their La Liga rivals 4-2 after Atletico impressed in the first meeting. A late away goal by Costa, though, handed Los Che something of a lifeline. It's on.


    Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis, Mario Suarez, Tiago, Turan, Adrian, Diego, Falcao. Subs: Sergio Asenjo, Salvio, Gabi, Dominguez, Koke, Perea, Martin.


    Valencia: Diego Alves, Barragan, Rami, Ricardo Costa, Jordi Alba, Albelda, Parejo, Feghouli, Jonas, Canales, Soldado. Subs: Guaita, Maduro, Aduriz, Piatti, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu, Tino Costa.


    Good evening and welcome to live minute-by-minute commentary of Valencia and Atletico's Europa League semi-final second leg, brought to you by me, James Dall. Full teams to follow.