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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 11 hours ago
Read
Oct 22, 2012

Falcao: Winner was my first free-kick

Radamel Falcao was again the hero for Atletico Madrid on Sunday night with a last minute 20-yard free kick – the first of his career - to see off Real Sociedad 1-0 and return Atletico to joint top of the Primera Division table.

• Falcao strikes again
• Blog: Bison saves Real Madrid
• Ball: Ambitious Atletico

With the game entering injury time Atletico won a free on the edge of la Real's penalty area. Falcao grabbed the ball from regular taker Gabi, who at first appealed to coach Diego Simeone, but was persuaded to step aside and let the Colombian international step up.

After the match El Tigre revealed that this was the first time he has gone for goal from a long-range free-kick in La Liga, and the first time he scored one in his entire senior career.

"As an amateur I scored a lot of free-kicks, but this is my first as a professional," Falcao said. "We knew we could score and I always practice frees after training. Gabi gave me confidence."

The €60m-rated hitman, regularly linked with moves to Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City, now has nine goals in his seven La Liga games this season, and has scored in each of his last 10 games with 16 in total for club and country.

Simeone said he had been confident about Simeone taking the free-kick.

"Falcao asked me desperately to take it," he said. "He knew there was a chance and his hunger and enthusiasm to score gave him confidence. He is training a lot to improve his free-kicks and today was the consequence of that training."

The win put Atletico alongside Barcelona at the head of the Primera Division standings, with seven wins and a draw from their opening eight games.

It was not Los Colchoneros' best performance of the season. They had rode their luck at times but showed grit to stay in the game, their coach admitted.

"It was a very tough and difficult game as we knew it would be," said Simeone. "We did not begin the game well. In the first half the team was not at the level of other games. Real were intense and aggressive, without creating big chances but dominating the play and making it difficult for us. The second half was more equal, more box-to-box. We looked for the win and had some chances. With Falcao we were able to make them count."

The forward himself was also keeping his feet on the ground.

"We cannot get ahead of where we are at the moment," he said.

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