Two similar playing style and identical system of 4-4-2 faced off in Mestalla on a battle for the Champions League race right before they play both their first leg next week. Atlético started again, just like they did in their last match against Granada, with a diamond on the midfield where Koke was positioned right behind the two “fake forwards”, Vitolo and Correa.
The first minutes brought a high pressure by both teams on the midfield. Valencia started looking for Wass on the right wing while Atlético tried to break down Valencia´s defense. And they pulled it off through a pass from Correa to Vitolo on the right side, that the first one passed back to the Argentinean, Valencia´s defender Gabriel Paulita couldn´t kick it away and Marcos Llorente found himself right in front of the opponent´s goal to put his team ahead.
Valencia wanted to elaborate from behind so their compass, Dani Parejo, would be able to connect with Ferran Torres and Carlos Soler in order to drive the ball forward, but Atlético´s players held them back effectively.
The home team improved the last part of the first half and they reflected it by getting the draw through a corner kick taken by Parejo, who threw it to the second post, where Máxi Gómez put it back to the penalty point from where Paulista headed it for the equalizer.
But Valencia barely enjoyed that as Atlético scored again only two minutes later. Thomas stole the ball from Parejo on Valencia´s side of the field to execute a perfect shot right next to the post to give his team the lead right before halftime.
Ferran Torres created the first chance in the second half thanks to a great dribble on Atlético´s left back Renan Lodi and midfielder Saúl that ended on a cross that the defense sent to the corner. And Valencia tied it up again through a free kick by Parejo, who made a good cross that midfielder Kondogbia shot to the net. Atlético have already conceded nine goals so far this season from corners and free kicks.
However, Valencia took the control of the game from that moment and Ferran Torres confirmed his outstanding performance. He dribbled every player all the time on the right side and assisted both forwards, Kevin Gameiro and Máxi Gómez on two consecutive plays, but neither of them were able to finish properly. Atlético also had their chances through a header by Álvaro Morata and multiple shots by Thomas from outside the box, but none of them broke the equality. As usual, Atlético´s goalie Jan Oblak made a great save to a tough shot by Valencia´s left back Gayá in the last play of the game.
Big match at Mestalla where none team managed to get the win right before a key week for both teams upcoming European meets.