Atlético Madrid look on course to reach the Europa League final following a 4-2 home win against Valencia. The hosts are seven points behind their opponents in the league, but that form didn't seem to count for much at the Vicente Calderón, where a steady stream of second-half shots overwhelmed an unimpressive Los Che side.
The opening spell was much tighter, and although Atlético struck first, they did so in rather strange fashion, with Radamel Falcao nodding home a cutback that Valencia's defence appeared to assume had gone over the byline. The visitors were very much in the tie and came roaring back with a goal of their own in first-half stoppage time when Adil Rami flicked on a corner for Jonas to tap in at the far post.
They say that just before halftime is a bad time to concede, but the hosts showed no signs of a wobble and came out firing as soon as Craig Thomson sounded the restart. It took five minutes for Atlético to regain their lead, thanks to a mix-up in the Valencia defence, which saw Miranda left unmarked on a free kick and gave the defender an easy header past Diego Alves to make it 2-1.
Adrian scored shortly thereafter with a neat run and cool finish, but the goal that really killed off this match (and probably tie) was Falcao's second, a screamer from outside the box that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar on its way into the goal. Valencia looked like they were going to melt away under a flurry of good chances, but in the fourth minute of injury time, the visitors grabbed a corner and then struck back via Ricardo Costa, following a slip from Thibaut Courtois.
A two-goal lead is nothing to sneeze at as far as Atlético are concerned, but they'll be peeved that they allowed that last-minute Costa goal -- it could be a vital one for Valencia, who now only have to win by two at the Mestalla. Still, Atlético will be the happier side today.