Valencia 2-2 Atletico Madrid: Late Maxi Leveller Earns Colchoneros A Point
Maxi Rodriguez’s late, late goal earned Atletico Madrid a point at the Mestalla, after Pablo Hernandez and David Villa had canceled out Sergio Aguero’s opener.
Both sides lined up largely as expected, with Pablo being preferred to Joaquin for Valencia, while Jose Jurado got the nod over Maxi for Atleti.
With the attacking talent and dodgy defences on display from both sides, goals aplenty were expected at the Mestalla. The frantic opening was no surprise, and it only took seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken, when Aguero finished expertly after being found by Diego Forlan in the box.
Minutes later, Los Che had a great chance to equalise, but David Silva’s rasping drive went over the bar. The home side were causing plenty of problems, and Juan Mata soon saw his shot saved by Roberto at the near post.
It was end to end stuff, and Aguero should have doubled his tally when he capitalised on a loss of concentration by Alexis and ran through on goal, before nudging his shot just wide of the far post. It would prove to be a costly miss, as Pablo levelled the scores in spectacular fashion. Found on the right by Ever Banega, he lobbed it around Antonio Lopez before firing in at the near post, making to 1-1.
The drama had only just begun, and the tables turned further on 26 minutes, when Silva released Villa, who bore down on Roberto and slid the ball past him to make it 2-1, before the half-hour.
Both sides looked likely to score every time they touched the ball, with only some poor finishing preventing them from doing so. Just before the break, Atleti suffered a blow as Juan Valera had to be withdrawn, to be replaced by Juanito.
As it was, there were no further goals before the break, as the home side went in ahead, but still with plenty of work to do.
The second half started in a similar vein, and on 52 minutes, Villa nearly scored with a spectacular back-heel, only to see it bounce off the post, after he had connected with a corner from Pablo. Soon after, another corner caused more mayhem, as Silva’s volley was stopped by Roberto’s feet.
Atleti were still in the game as well, and Cleber Santana was unlucky not to equalise when his shot from distance flew into the side netting. Seconds later, Aguero was released by Forlan, but the Argentine took a touch too many, eventually taking the ball over the byline.
As the defenders began to tire, yet more space began to open up, and Villa was once again denied by a reaction save from Roberto. Meanwhile, at the other end, Jose Antonio Reyes set Forlan up seconds after coming on, but the Uruguayan fired wide.
Chances were now being created by the minute, and Maxi Rodriguez also saw his fierce shot fly the wrong side of the woodwork. He then squared the ball across the box, and would have set Reyes up if not for a last minute intervention from Bruno.
Just as it looked as though Valencia had done enough to secure the win, Jeremy Mathieu fell asleep at the back, allowing Maxi to ghost in at the far post and volley past Moya, thus ensuring the match finished at 2-2.