With Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona suffered a shocking 5-3 defeat in the hands of Villarreal CF at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys a day earlier, Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid were given a golden opportunity to break into the Top Three of the Spanish top-flight football in the 2023/2024 Season. Atlético Madrid made full use of the chance and went on to beat Valencia CF on their Matchday 21 fixture Civitas Metropolitan Stadium, Madrid and the 2-0 result was sufficient to send Atlético Madrid to the third place of the La Liga table, trailing only Girona FC and archrivals Real Madrid with 17 games to go.
Lino and Depay Influential for Atlético Madrid’s 14th League Win in 2023/2024
Both Atlético Madrid and Valencia CF went back and forth against each other to find the breakthrough of the game in the opening half, and it was the team who were on a three-game winning streak in all competitions who strike first, courtesy of Brazilian wing-back Samuel Lino.
The 24-year-old player, who played for Valencia CF on loan during the whole of the 2022/2023 Season, scored against his former club in the dying moments of the first 45 minutes when the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of Atlético Madrid Antoine Griezmann delivered an exquisite long ball to unleash the flanker, followed by the Brazilian’s clever finish that beat Giorgi Mamardashvili for his sixth goal in 24 appearances in all competitions in the 2023/2024 Season.
Atlético Madrid took the 1-0 advantage into the second half and added another goal moments before the hour mark, this time via Memphis Depay. The Dutchman, who started ahead of Álvaro Morata in this Valenci CF clash, repaid his head coach’s faith by scoring inside the six-yard box in the 57th minute. Argentina international Nahuel Molina received the ball at the right side of the Valencia CF goal, before he quickly fired in a delicious cross that was met by Depay with a header. The former PSV Eindhoven, Lyon, Manchester United and Barcelona man’s strike secured all three points for Atlético Madrid in their quest of charging into the La Liga Top Three.
Atlético Madrid Boss Simeone: “The Team Is Working Better.”
“I see him (Depay) the same as you, playing well and doing what we need from him. Growing and contributing things because he is important for us. The team is working better, we are winning more duels than before and that allows the team to work better as a unit. It’s key (Three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions), there is no important team that does well in conceding goals. Let’s hope to continue improving because we have more room for improvement,” Simeone said this after Atlético Madrid beat Valencia CF 2-0 at home.
On 18-year-old Arthur Vermeeren making the bench for Simeone’s side in the Atlético Madrid-Valencia CF, the Argentine added: “He is young, he comes with a lot of enthusiasm, we believe in what we see from him and we will have to help him find himself in the best way within the team. We will help him and he will help us to be within the team.”
Scorer of Atlético Madrid’s first goal of the evening Lion had this to add regarding his and his team’s performances: “It’s very important to have scored the goal that opened the game and started the victory. However, the most important thing was the victory. We are not thinking about the title, we keep it game by game. Doing our job. Now we have Rayo at home and we’ll see what happens in the end of the season. Our focus is match by match and starts with beating Rayo.”
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Which Teams Will Finish Top Three in the Spanish La Liga Table?
With Atlético Madrid breaking into the best three teams in the Spanish top-flight football, it will be interesting to see which sides will be ending the season on a high note with half a season remaining. Atlético Madrid currently trail leaders Girona FC and nemeses Real Madrid by 11 and 10 points respectively, meaning it will be unlikely to have Simeone’s team finishing Top Two in this season’s Spanish La Liga. In other words, apart from Girona FC and Real Madrid, the race for the third best team in Spanish top-flight football is likely to be a dog fight, with Atlético Madrid now the favourites to stay in that position.
Leave us at WorldCupLiveStream some comments down in the section below on your prediction for the most performing Spanish football club at the end of the current season now!
#LALIGAHighlights | Atlético de Madrid 2-0 Valencia CF
— LALIGA English (@LaLigaEN) January 29, 2024