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Deportivo La Coruña
4 May 2014
• Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Valencia
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 22156
Filipe Luis 7' (own goal)
David Barral 69'
I'm Alex Moretto and I'd like to thank you all for joining me here today in what was a thrilling and eventful match at the Ciutat de Valencia. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: LEVANTE 2-0 ATLETICO MADRID. Filipe Luis' own goal set the tone for the match, as the visitors could never overcome that early goal to get their title aspirations back on track. David Barral added a second as Atletico Madrid lose control of their own destiny, with Real Madrid in pole position if they capitalize with a win later this evening.
90' + 3'
THAT'S IT! Levante hold on as we have a massive coming together near the corner flag! Diop celebrates in front of the traveling fans, which has created quite a stir at full-time. Costa runs in to pull Diop away, and everyone gathers as frustration boils over.
90' + 2'
Pedro Lopez streaks up the right and wins a foul in the Atletico half. The ball is played short and worked to Ivanschitz who has his shot deflected behind for a corner. This should do it!
Two more saves by Navas to add to his impressive resume today! He denies Turan from inside the box, then holds on to Diego's strike from 25 yards out as we enter the three minutes of injury time.
The atmosphere is superb at the Ciutat de Valencia, as we approach extra time. The large contingent of attacking fans have been silenced, but the home support has been electric throughout much of this second half.
STAT ATTACK: Atletico Madrid are on a 15 match unbeaten run in all competitions (12W, 3D) and have won nine consecutive league matches.
Levante have taken the pace right out of the match, and Atletico don't look eager to get it back. The miserable look on their faces says it all. There's still time left, but it's been that kind of day for the visitors, who can't get a bounce to save their lives!
Nice movement by Atletico, but they can't find a way through as the ball is sent behind for a corner, and eventually headed well over the bar for a goal kick. Atletico look discouraged, as if Barral's goal snatched the wind from under their sails. Levante, buoyed by the second goal, remain incredibly motivated and lively, as they look to see this one out.
David Barral comes off to a thunderous applause. Levante fans haven't had much to cheer about, as their team hasn't won a home game since the first of March!
Yellow Card Arda Turan
Real Madrid, who play later on tonight, will be watching and cheering as Levante put them into the driver's seat in La Liga. Atletico have experienced their fair share of late heroics this season. Do they have a little bit of magic left, to salvage a point in the final ten or so minutes?
Yellow Card Diego Godín
OFF THE WOODWORK! Atletico doing everything they can to get back in this game, but it's just not happening for them at the moment! Adrian shows incredible control to bring a ball down and shift it over to his right foot. He curls a shot past a helpless Navas, but is denied by the post!
Diego Costa is starting to lose his head! Tempers flaring now after another coming together between Costa and Navas. The keeper comes out to claim the ball, but is crashed into by Costa, who then has a little kick at Diop in frustration. Atletico have to stay composed. Even a draw would help their case - all is not lost yet!
Yellow Card Simão
STAT ATTACK: Atletico Madrid's 13 goals conceded away from home is the lowest allowed in the league. Real Madrid and Barcelona are tied for second at 18.
Sergio da Silva Pinto
Goal David Barral
GOOOOOOOOOAAAL! Atletico's dream season has taken a drastic turn in Valencia! Victor sends a wonderful ball into the area to Barral, whose exceptional first touch helps him fend off Godin and beat Courtois with a perfect finish!
WHAT. A. SAVE! Superman Navas is back at it, incredibly denying Atletico of an opener yet again! Toby Alderweireld has a lovely strike on the ball from 20 yards out. It takes a wicked deflection off a defender, but Navas reacts sensationally to get across and fly through the air to deny it of flying into the top corner.
INCHES WIDE FROM COSTA! Atletico win a free kick from 25 yards out as Ruben Garcia is called for a handball. Adrian delivers it towards the far post for Costa, who gets the faintest of touches on it, but can't redirect it into the back of the net! So, so close to an equalizer!
GREAT PLAY BY VYNTRA! Filipe Luis takes a pass at the top of the area, and looks to send his shot inside the far post. Vyntra gets across to back up his keeper and make a key clearance, that very well could have saved a goal!
Diego comes on now for Koke, who had a quiet match, perhaps fatigued after an exhausting midweek match. The visitors have no choice here but to go for it with under 30 minutes left - they aren't exactly the highest scoring team in La Liga, either.
Yellow Card David Barral
STAT ATTACK: The home team has won seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings between the two teams.
The visitors have stepped on the gas here, putting endless amounts of pressure on the Levante defence, who are hanging tough at the moment. Juanfran showing his strength, winning a number of aerial balls and keeping Adrian to the outside of the box.
ANOTHER BLOCK! Costa picks out Turan yet again, who dribbles into the area and gets himself into a strong shooting position. He has a go, but Navarro slides in with the block to keep Atletico at bay. They're coming so close, but can't get the ball on net!
Yellow Card Tiago
WHAT WERE THEY WAITING FOR!? Diego Costa shoulders Vyntra off the ball to win it inside the box. He's at a bad angle and opts to cut it back for Koke, who also decides not to have a shot! The midfielder passes off for Turan who sees his shot blocked! Valiant defending, but they waited far too long to go for goal.
VITAL BLOCK! Great movement from Atletico to get forward Costa unselfishly lays it off for Adrian who has a sight at goal, but Juanfran doesn't let the shot go through as it hits off his trailing leg and behind for a corner.
Frustration continues to grow for the visitors as Levante keep some solid possession in midfield. Adrian lunges in with a strong tackle and gives away a foul. Diop lofts it into the box where Simao Junior meets it with his head, but Courtois dives across rather theatrically to make an easy save.
Atletico taking a much different approach now, with their first half tactics failing to see them find the back of the net. David Villa and Raul Garcia give way for Arda Turan and Adrian, who should help give Diego Costa some more support, while adding some much needed creativity in midfield.
The second half is underway now as Atletico Madrid kick-off. Its a vital 45 minutes as far as the title race goes, and we'll see how Diego Simeone's half-time speech affected his team entering this second half.
Atletico Madrid don't trail very often, but respond awfully well when they do. They trailed Bilbao a month ago, the last time they saw themselves behind in league play, and responded with two goals to steal all three points. They also fell behind at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday before roaring back with three goals of their own, including two in the second half, to claim victory.
HALF-TIME: LEVANTE 1-0 ATLETICO MADRID. The visitors really can not afford to slip up here today. They currently sit six points ahead of Real Madrid, but will have played two more games than their inner-city rivals at full-time, who also hold the tie-breaker over Diego Simeone's men. A loss also keeps Barcelona in the title picture, as they can only have the Rojiblancos pick up one of a possible nine points to close out the season to keep their slim title hopes alive.
No time to be added on says referee Jose Gonzalez as Atletico head to the break down a goal, with their title hopes in the balance.
Atletico are sending ball after ball into the penalty area, hoping for a slip, or Costa to use his strength to win it and create a goal from nothing. Levante, however, are more than up for the task as they continue to win a number of balls in the air, and keep Atletico frustrated.
Navas and Costa have a coming together in the box, as a Diop clearance is scuffed and sent high in the air, coming down close to goal. Costa goes up for the header and Navas punches away, then gives the striker a bit of a facewash. Costa isn't happy, but the keeper tries to play innocent and make amends. Tensions starting to increase for Atletico as we approach half-time with them trailing.
STAT ATTACK: Before today, the last time Atletico Madrid conceded a league goal was back on March 29, in a 2-1 victory over Bilbao.
Atletico are starting to take over the possession statistics. They're passing it around well, and seem to be having success breaking down the Levante defence - it's Navas who they can't solve at the moment. Alderweireld rushes up again and sees his cross deflected behind for a corner.
GREAT STOP FROM NAVAS! The Costa Rican keeper has been superb throughout this first half for Levante, and he's at it yet again! Alderweireld rushes up from his right-back position and joins in the attack. He takes a pass just inside the box and hits it first time. It's struck with great power, and looks to be headed just inside the near post, but Navas gets down and across to make the save!
Vital interception! Garcia chests down a ball and rolls a ball across the top of the box to Diop who looks to have a clear path at goal, but Godin rushes across to beat the Senegal international to the ball and clear the danger. Back go Atletico through Costa who's fouled, winning the visitors possession into the attacking half.
Back the other way now go the hosts. They're really struggling to find a way though in attack, but Miranda does them a big favour, rather over-zealously fouling Garcia, giving Levante a free kick from 25 yards out. Diop takes, but curls it right at Courtois who makes a simple catch as the danger is averted.
David Villa shows his skill on the ball to bring a high pass down and shield off two defenders before winning a free kick in an enticing position about 30 yards out. However, he rushes to take it and ends up giving the ball away as Levante get back into possession.
Levante aren't prepared to lose without a fight it would appear, chasing after every ball as if they were in a title race of their own! You can see and hear from the fans just how much it would mean to them to spoil Atletico's dream season - but there's still loads of time to play!
STAT ATTACK: Levante have managed just 15 goals in front of their home fans this season, second worst only to Elche (13).
Atletico win a corner, and it's delivered into a very dangerous area by Gabi. Navas rushes out to punch the ball away, but scuffs his clearance as it trickles just wide of his near post with Alderweireld just failing to get a touch on it to slot home.
CONTROVERSY! David Villa sends a lovely through ball to Diego Costa, in behind the defence! He has a clear shot at goal, but a late offside call from the linesman brings the play to a halt. It looked very close, and he may just have been kept onside by Juanfran!
Atletico continue to try and get the ball towards Diego Costa, but he's being defended very well at the moment by David Navarro and Juanfran, who appear to be up to the task today.
Navas again with a smart play as he comes out of his net, sun in his eyes, to catch a dangerous looking free kick. He gets rid of the ball quickly to Juanfran who starts to build up the left. They work it forward, but the final ball is poor as Tiago intercepts and starts up the other way.
STAT ATTACK: Six of the last seven meetings between the two teams in Levante have produced a winner, with the loser being held without a goal.
HOW DID THAT STAY OUT!? WHAT A SAVE! Filipe Luis redeems himself by sending an incredible diagonal ball into the box that Raul Garcia chests down and hits with the half-volley. He looks to have a sure goal, but Navas shows his world class reactions to dive over and get his hands to it. David Villa is there on the follow up but blasts it over the bar!
Levante growing in confidence, continue to attack Atletico along the flanks. Alderweireld doing a wonderful job on Victor in defence, but Raul Garcia tracks back and knocks the ball out of play rather unnecessarily for a corner.
Tiago sends a brilliant ball forward now to Diego Costa, who times his run perfectly but is called for the offside! It looks to be the incorrect call, but the striker opts not to argue as he remains locked in and focused.
Own Goal Filipe Luis
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! Disaster for Atletico! It's an own goal, to make matters worse. The corner is delivered into the box, and Filipe Luis tries to chest it down, but rather shockingly puts it past Courtois and into the back of his own net!
Confident play by Levante, who attack through Ruben Garcia on the right. He gets a cross into a dangerous area, but it's cleared by Alderweireld. It's collected by Diop who moves it forward and wins a corner.
Costa gets the first chance of the match, but can't put Atletico in front. He gets on the end of a long pass, breaks into the box, but has a difficult time trying to beat Pedro Lopez as the balls runs a few feet away and Navas comes out to collect.
Levante get us underway, wearing their red and blue shirts, moving left to right. Atletico are sporting their yellow away kits. Koke is fouled within a minute and the visitors have a chance to cross the ball in from a distance. It's headed down and out of play for a goal kick.
It's a beautiful, sunny day in Spain, setting the scene for what should be a thrilling clash! About a quarter of the stadium is packed with travelling fans hoping to see their team inch one step closer to the title. The players are taking their places and we're about set to begin!
STAT ATTACK: Atletico Madrid last won away to Levante in October 2007 – a 1-0 victory thanks to Diego Forlan's winner midway through the first half. Levante got relegated that same season, finishing last in the league with 26 points from 38 games.
LEVANTE SUBS: Rodas, Angel, Jimenez, Karabelas, Xumentra, Sergio Pinto, Ivanschitz.
LEVANTE XI (4-2-3-1): Navas; Vyntra, Navarro, Juanfran, Pedro Lopez; Diop, Simao Junior; Sissoko, Victor, Ruben Garcia; Barral.
Diego Simeone has only made one change to the team that won 1-0 away to Valencia last weekend, with Toby Alderweireld slotting in at right back for the suspended Juanfran.
ATLETICO MADRID SUBS: Aranzubia, Mario Suarez, Adrian, Arda Turan, Gimenez, Diego, Insua.
ATLETICO MADRID XI (4-4-2): Courtois; Alderweireld, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis; Raul Garcia, Gabi, Tiago, Koke; David Villa, Diego Costa.
The teams have been announced, so let us have ourselves a look at today's starting line-ups:
Levante, sitting in 11th place with 42 points, have nearly replicated their performance from last season where they picked up 46 points, finishing just outside the top 10. There is still time for them to finish in the top half of the table, but for now they'll shift their sights to trying to deliver a big blow to Atletico's title hopes.
Fresh off a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge, Atletico Madrid have reached the Champions League finals for the first time in 40 years and just the second time in their history. With the final still three weeks away, Diego Simeone can shift his attention to the league, as they look to win their first title in nearly 20 years. Atletico need to pick up seven points from their final three league matches to ensure themselves the title, but for the time being they still have their Madrid rivals breathing down their neck.
Good afternoon La Liga fans around the world, and welcome to today's match between Atletico Madrid and Levante, with massive implications on the title race. All eyes will be glued to the Ciutat de Valencia as Los Rojiblancos try and widen their mark atop the Primera Division. I'm Alex Moretto and I'll be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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