Atletico Madrid struck twice in stoppage time to seal a dramatic 3-2 LaLiga win over Valencia at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
Diego Simeone’s side looked like they were on their way to a third consecutive defeat in all competitions after Yunus Musah and Hugo Duro had put the visitors two goals up at the interval.
Matheus Cunha reduced the deficit in the 64th minute, setting the stage for Angel Correa and Mario Hermoso to secure the most remarkable victory with strikes in added time.
Atleti remained in fourth place, four points behind Real Betis with a game in hand, while Valencia stayed in ninth.
25’ Atleti 0-1 Valencia
44’ Atleti 0-2 Valencia
64’ Atleti 1-2 Valencia
90+1’ Atleti 2-2 Valencia
90+3’ Atleti 3-2 Valencia pic.twitter.com/ggh8pOloz5 Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) January 22, 2022
The hosts looked bright in the early stages, Joao Felix prodding wide when presented with their best chance, yet it was the visitors who went ahead.
Musah gathered Goncalo Guedes’ cross-field pass, cut inside Sime Vrsaljko and fired into Jan Oblak’s bottom-right corner from just inside the penalty area for his first LaLiga goal of the season.
It got even worse for Atleti a minute before the interval, Duro latching onto Toni Lato’s pass and sliding past the onrushing Oblak from 12 yards to give Valencia a healthy half-time advantage.
Substitute Cunha reduced the deficit with a close-range finish from Yannick Carrasco’s corner, before Correa drew the hosts level a minute into added time with a simple finish after Jaume Domenech had spilled Carrasco’s cross.
The stunning fightback was completed two minutes later when Hermoso slotted into an empty net after being picked out by Cunha, sparking jubilant scenes amongst the Atleti faithful.
What does it mean? Atleti back on track after late show
Atleti had collected just four points from the previous 18 available in LaLiga before the visit of Valencia, as well as losing in the Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey.
A dramatic late turnaround breathed new life into their bid for a Champions League qualification place, though, with Simeone almost reduced to tears on the touchline after Hermoso’s winner.
The result saw them become just the second LaLiga team in the 21st century to come from behind to win a game with two goals in added time, after Betis did so – also against Valencia – in December 2011.
Cunha had a sensational impact off the bench. He hauled his side back into the game with a goal seven minutes after his introduction for Thomas Lemar and then played the decisive pass for Hermoso to score the winner.
Luis Suarez’s future has been the subject of intense speculation, with some suggesting he could join Aston Villa before the end of the transfer window. He was certainly in the thick of things here, but a return of no goals from five shots – the most of any player on the pitch – was not good enough.
He has now failed to score in his last eight LaLiga games, equalling his longest run without scoring in one of the big five European leagues.
Atleti travel to Barcelona for a huge clash in LaLiga on February 6, while Valencia are next in action on February 2 when they host Cadiz in the Copa del Rey.
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