Falcao penalty sees Atletico past Espanyol


MADRID: Atletico Manager Diego Simeone was delighted with the work-rate shown by his side as they held on for a 1-0 win over Espanyol despite playing 45 minutes with 10 men.


Radamel Falcao’s 38th minute penalty proved enough to reduce to gap to  Barcelona at the top of the table back to 12 points, but Atleti were forced to  do it the hard way after captain Gabi received a soft second yellow card in the  final action of the first-half.
“Once more I have to highlight how happy I am with the team’s response,”  Simeone told reporters.
“It was a great collective effort. To hold on for 45 minutes is a long time  against a team like Espanyol who arrived in such a rich vein of form.
“In the second-half we had a number of chances in front of goal and could  have ended with a more comprehensive result.”
Indeed Atleti continued to control proceedings after the break and barely  allowed Espanyol a chance despite their numerical disadvantage as they extended  their run without conceding a goal at home in the league to eight games.
Simeone was particularly proud of his team’s determination and attitude as  many of same players had also been involved when they were dumped out of the  Europa League against Rubin Kazan in Russia on Thursday night.
“We have always had the intention to be competitive in every competition.
“Sometimes we were better, sometimes worse, but I think the fans always  value a devoted team.
“Today the team was devoted and the response of the fans was great. The  team transmitted what has historically been the virtues of this club. An  intense, quick and devoted side.”
Victory also stretched Atleti’s advantage over city rivals Real Madrid in  second place to four points, whilst Espanyol’s first defeat in six games means  they remain in 13th.
Elsewhere Real Betis moved to within three points of Malaga in fourth as  they beat their Andalusian rivals 3-0 at the Benito Villamarin.
All the goals came in the first-half as Jorge Molina, Mario and Dorian  Pabon were on target, whilst Molina also missed a penalty before the break.
At the bottom there was a big win for Celta Vigo in Abel Resino’s first  game in charge as Mario Bermejo’s second-half winner handed them a 2-1 win over  Granada.
The Galicians are now just two points off safety, whilst Granada themselves  remain just three points off the relegation zone.
And Valladolid also eased any fears they might have had over relegation  after four games without a victory as they won 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano to move up  to 11th. -- AFP

Related Articles

Leave Your Comment

Leave Your Comment:

New Straits Times reserves the right not to publish offensive or abusive comments and those of hate speech, harassment, commercial promos and invasion of privacy. Your IP will be logged and may be used to prevent further submission.The views expressed here are that of the members of the public and unless specifically stated are not those of NST.