Atletico Madrid outshine neighbours to move joint top
Goal machine Radamel Falcao put on a show for the watching Roberto Mancini as he guided his Atletico Madrid side to a thrilling 2-1 win over Malaga and a share of the Primera Division lead on Sunday.
On a night when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo proved their undeniable worth with braces in the Clasico, Falcao proved he has a game that can rival the pair of them at Vicente Calderon.
Whether Manchester City boss Mancini was there to watch the Portuguese or not, he will surely not have failed to notice another all-action display from the former Porto man.
He opened the scoring with his 11th of the season six minutes in and, when it looked as though Roque Santa Cruz`s brilliant header would deny Atletico a share of top spot, Weligton put through his own goal in added time, under severe pressure from Falcao who may well look to claim the goal as his own.
Malaga were unhappy at the awarding of the goal, calling for pushing in the build-up as well as claiming Falcao put undue pressure on Weligton and Nacho Monreal, but that did not bother home boss Diego Simeone who celebrated wildly with his players on the touchline.
It had looked as though the Argentinian`s goal-happy side would cut loose when Falcao scored so early, the striker showing a quick brain as he stooped to head in Emre Belozoglu`s left-wing cross.
Former Newcastle man Emre then picked out Joao Miranda but he was unable to replicate Falcao`s accuracy.
Santa Cruz was, though, with the Paraguay international showing Mancini that if he is looking for another striker, he has the necessary tools.
He is on loan to Malaga from City but a return to Eastlands is highly unlikely with Mancini having made up his mind about a player who has rarely fired in blue, but he was on song tonight, getting a run on Miranda and getting a bullet header to Monreal`s near-post cross nine minutes before the break.
Malaga have been in good form themselves - they were brilliant against Anderlecht in the Champions League - but they were unable to build momentum tonight. Falcao should have put them behind again with a 51st-minute header.
With chances few and far between, that looked like being Atleti`s last chance to take the win until, with seconds left, Weligton`s foul on Falcao set up a right-wing free-kick, Gabi`s ball in was not cleared and Falcao pressured the Brazilian into putting through his own goal, perhaps getting a touch himself.