|Atletico Madrid (3)||Valencia (2)|
|Matheus Cunha 64′|
Angel Correa 90′
Mario Hermoso 90′
|Yunus Musah 25′|
Hugo Duro 44′
Disappointed. Dismayed. Heartbroken. From euphoric night to absolute nightmare. A game that we seemingly had in the bag was lost at the death, following an appalling capitulation that some players may never recover from.
At the final whistle, Jose Bordalas stormed down the tunnel muttering to himself, unable to believe what he had seen. Inquests will need to be made.
It had all started so promisingly. Los Che’s 11-year winless drought at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium looked set to come to an end when they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half.
The visitor’s game plan was clear: sit back, soak up pressure, and hit hard on the counter. It worked, as we drew first blood in a classic counter-attacking display straight out of the Jose Bordalas playbook.
As Atletico pushed forward, Los Che won back possession in midfield, with Goncalo Guedes suddenly finding himself with acres of green to exploit. Steaming down the right flank, the Portuguese showed plenty of vision to pick out Yunus Musah, who finished clinically past Jan Oblak.
20 minutes later saw Valencia doubling their lead after some chaotic Atletico defending. As defender Mario Hermoso lost his bearings trying to locate a high ball, Toni Lato capitalised. The No.3 threaded a through ball for Hugo Duro to score his 6th league goal of the season. There seemed to be no stopping Valencia, who looked to have the home side completely outclassed.
While the first half was brilliant, the second was horrific. Someone on the coaching staff had forgotten to tell the players that a game of football lasts two halves. It all went downhill when Omar Alderete was forced off the pitch in the 54th minute. With our defensive leader gone, it marked the beginning of the end.
The cracks began to show when Matheus Cunha first pulled one back for the home side. For awhile, it seemed that Valencia could hang on, with Jaume Domenech repeatedly bailing his team with a string of saves.
But we completely lost our heads when it mattered the most. Deep into injury time, Angel Correa equalised for Atletico after Valencia’s defenders were all lost at sea, failing to pick up the Argentine who nipped in when the ball rebounded off Domenech. 7 defenders in the box and we still failed to prevent a goal. Unbelievable.
The final nail in the coffin came 2 minutes later when Hermoso broke every Valencianista’s heart by tapping home from Cunha’s cross. Once again, our defence was nowhere to be seen.
Victory would have seen Valencia just 1 point off the top 4, but instead we remain in 9th. Bordalas needs to whip his defence into shape. The team has now conceded 36 goals this season – the second highest in the league. This cannot go on.