Skip to main content

Falcao brace hands Atletico Madrid advantage in Europa League semi

updated 5:35 PM EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Colombian striker Falcao scores Atletico's first goal in their 4-2 victory over Valencia in the Europa League
Colombian striker Falcao scores Atletico's first goal in their 4-2 victory over Valencia in the Europa League
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Atletico Madrid beat fellow Spaniards Valencia 4-2 in their Europa League semifinal first leg
  • Falcao scores twice for Atletico but late goal for Valencia takes gloss off their win
  • Portugal's Sporting Lisbon come from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in other tie
  • Goals from Diego Capel and Emiliano Insua cancel out Jon Aurtenetxe's opener

(CNN) -- Two goals from Colombian striker Falcao put Atletico Madrid in the driving seat as they defeated fellow Spanish side Valencia 4-2 in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal.

The 26-year-old took his goal tally for the season to 32 as Diego Simone's side took a commanding lead in their final four clash at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Goals from Miranda and Adrian sandwiched Falcao's brace, but Ricardo Costa's injury time header, which added to Jonas' earlier strike, gave Valencia hope ahead of the second leg next week.

In the other semifinal, two late goals helped Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon to a 2-1 home victory over another Spanish side, Athletic Bilbao.

Chelsea stun Barcelona in Champions League semifinal

It took Atletico just 18 minutes to break the deadlock against Valencia, as they came out of the traps quicker than their opponents.

Turkish international Arda Turan managed to keep the ball alive as Adil Rami looked to shepherd it out for a goal kick, but a deflection took it into Falcao's path and he nodded into the far corner.

Against the run of play, Jonas pulled Valencia level in injury time at the end of the first half as he turned home Rami's header from point blank range.

But Atletico eased in front after the restart when Brazilian midfielder Diego picked out Miranda from a free kick and the centre half found the net.

Five minutes later it was 3-1 as Adrian pounced on a mistake from Mehmet Topal to drive into the area and finish beyond Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.

And when Falcao grabbed his second, beating two men before powering a shot in off the underside of the crossbar, Atletico looked on the brink of a Europa League final place.

But the gloss was taken off their excellent performance in stoppage time as Ricardo Costa headed into the net with practically the final touch of the game to hand Valencia a crucial second away goal.

In the night's other tie, Sporting Lisbon battled back from a goal down to ensure they will take a 2-1 lead to Spain in the second leg of their final four clash with Athletic Bilbao.

The visitors took the lead in Portugal when Jon Aurtenetxe turned home Markel Susaeta's cross from six yards out.

But Sporting got just reward for their dominance as they grabbed two goals in the final 15 minutes. Emiliano Insua brought the teams level with a header before Diego Capel lashed a shot into the bottom corner.

The Europa League final will be played in the Romanian capital Bucharest on May 9.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT