Atletico Madrid fly to five straight
Atletico Madrid recorded their fifth consecutive win with a 2-1 victory over Valladolid at the Vicente Calderon, although they were made to work hard for the points by the newly promoted side.
Diego Godin opened the scoring for the hosts on the half hour as he exchanged passes with Koke before lifting the ball calmly over Jaime, and Radamel Falcao continued his fantastic form by slotting home a penalty a minute before the break. However the visitors were gifted a way back into the game when Thibaut Courtois fumbled Alberto Bueno's weak effort into his own net, and the UEFA Europa League holders were grateful for the final whistle as Valladolid piled on the pressure towards the end.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone had recalled Falcao and Godin along with Courtois, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Gabi from the side that beat Hapoel Tel-Aviv 3-0 in midweek. And it was the South American duo who made the difference in a first half which the hosts controlled throughout. Diego Costa was first to threaten as his shot was deflected just wide on 17 minutes before Falcao headed straight at Jaime from the resulting corner.
Oscar Ramos then forced Courtois into a flying save in a rare attack from the visitors, but Atletico were still the dominant side, deservedly going in front when Godin was played in beautifully by Koke to dink his finish over the on-rushing Jaime. The Valladolid keeper then made a brilliant double save to deny Gabi and Falcao, but he was given no chance by the Colombian from the spot after Ramos had bundled over Costa inside the area.
Simeone then made the odd decision to remove Falcao for Adrian, and his judgment was called further into question when Courtois produced a howler to let Bueno's tame effort slip past him. The Belgian redeemed himself somewhat by turning away Bueno's free-kick with 15 minutes remaining, and despite Atletico failing to hold on to possession for any sustained period of time, the side were able to lock up a win.