Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Atletico retain perfect home record

Reuters, MADRID

Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan, right, fights for the ball with RC Celta Vigo’s Hugo Mallo during their La Liga match in Madrid on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Adrian came off the bench to fire second-placed Atletico Madrid to a 1-0 La Liga home win over RC Celta de Vigo on Friday and secure a ninth victory in nine matches this season at the Vicente Calderon.

Atletico struggled to create chances in their final match of a year in which they won the Europa League and continued their resurgence under coach Diego Simeone.

Adrian finally found a way through Celta’s defense in the 77th minute when the Spain under-21 striker sent a snap shot arrowing into the top corner from just outside the area.

Defender Miranda earned a second yellow card for handling the ball and was sent off four minutes from time, but Atletico held on to close to within six points of unbeaten leaders Barcelona who were to play at Real Valladolid yesterday.

The victory also stretched their advantage over third-placed Real Madrid to seven points ahead of Real’s game at Malaga yesterday.

Atletico’s tally of 40 points from 17 matches is a club record, overhauling the previous best of 39 set in the 1995-1996 season when they last won the title.

“They [Celta] were clear about how [defensively] they were going to play and it’s always tough when a game turns out that way,” Adrian said in an interview with Spanish television.

“We want to carry on in the same way or even better,” he added. “Everything is going well in the three competitions.”

Valencia continued their tentative revival under new coach Ernesto Valverde when captain Roberto Soldado struck in the opening minute to set them on their way to a 4-2 home win over Getafe in the earlier kickoff.

They made heavy weather of the victory at their Mestalla stadium, but held off Getafe reasonably comfortably in the end to climb above them into ninth.

Valverde was appointed at the beginning of the month to replace Mauricio Pellegrino, sacked after the club’s erratic start to the season.

After Soldado’s early strike, Jonas added a second for the home side in the seventh minute and Alvaro Vazquez pulled a goal back for Getafe six minutes later.

Ricardo Costa made it 3-1 on the half hour before an Alexis header gave Getafe a sniff of hope with just over half an hour left that was snuffed out by a stoppage-time goal from substitute Nelson Valdez.

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