Two of Spain’s four Champions League representatives met in the most exciting clash of the opening weekend of action in La Liga as Atletico Madrid were forced to share the spoils with Valencia in their trip to Mestalla.
Whilst the previous seven meetings between Marcelino and Diego Simeone had led to only seven goals, and only one of those fixtures saw more than one goal, the game got off to an end to end start with both sides coming racing out of the starting blocks.
The breakthrough didn’t come until late on in the first half, when Antoine Griezmann produced a stunning turn and pass to break Valencia’s lines and allow Angel Correa to rifle the ball into the back of the net for his first goal for the season.
Unsurprisingly, livewire Rodrigo Moreno was the man to score an equaliser for Valencia as Daniel Wass pulled out wide and launched a cross over the heads of everyone in the Atletico box, other than the Valencia striker. Chesting it down masterfully, he sent his volley flying beyond Jan Oblak to bring the tie back to life.
The momentum was flowing for the hosts, who were revitalised by the goal, and Gabriel Paulista soon hit the post with a header from a corner before Atletico came back on top, repeatedly coming close to finding a breakthrough.
One of the best chances fell to the creator of Valencia’s second goal as they broke rapidly in the 88th minute, with substitute debutant Michy Batshuayi playing the Dane in but his effort was well stopped by Oblak.
Valencia: Neto; Piccini, Garay (Diakhaby, 67) Paulista, Gaya; Soler (Batshuayi, 76), Parejo, Kondogbia, Wass; Rodrigo, Mina (Gameiro, 67). Unused subs: Domenech, Lato, Cheryshev, Torres.
Atletico: Oblak; Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Luis; Correa (Thomas, 82), Saul, Koke, Lemar (Vitolo, 63); Griezmann (Martins, 72), Costa. Unused subs: Adan, Gimenez, Rodri, Kalinic.
Goals: Correa (0-1, 26′), Rodrigo (1-1, 56′).
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (Yellow cards: Savic (13), Garay (46), Juanfran (52), Luis (63), Rodrigo (70)).
Stadium: Mestalla, 45,154 attendance.