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Primera División

  • 5 May 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
  • Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
  • • Attendance: 25000

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Malaga: Simeone's side stay in the hunt for Champions League qualification

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Malaga: Simeone's side stay in the hunt for Champions League qualification

Adrian Lopez y Arda Turan - Atletico Madrid

Los Colchoneros moved to within two points of their opponents on the night after a comeback victory as the Andalusians failed to secure fourth place in an absorbing encounter

Atletico Madrid kept their slim Champions League aspirations alive when they rallied from behind to win 2-1 against direct rivals Malaga in Saturday's league match at the Vicente Calderon.

Eliseu’s wonder-strike put the away side ahead in the first half, but Koke levelled for the hosts with 20 minutes remaining, and Adrian Lopez completed the turnaround 10 minutes later.

Both sides went into the game with their sights firmly set on a top-four finish. But it was the visitors who were showing the most attacking intent early in the game. Martin Demichelis and Eliseu both had efforts from outside the box miss the target.

Atletico were also showing signs of promise, albeit fewer than their opponents early on. A good attacking move by the team resulted in Radamel Falcao being fed the ball on the left side of the box. However his curling effort was deflected wide of the post.

Just before the half-hour mark, Salomon Rondon had a big chance for the visitors. An inviting cross was whipped in from the right by Joaquin, but the Venezuelan could not keep his header down. He then missed an even better chance five minutes later. A mix-up in the Atletico defence saw Rondon picked out in the box, but he could not get hold of his shot, which trickled wide with the goal gaping.

Suddenly, Diego Simeone's men were breaking at speed, Adrian sprinted into the box, delivered a pinpoint cross for Falcao, but he somehow managed to slide his effort past the post.

It was a miss his side would rue moments later, as on 38 minutes, midfielder Eliseu picked up a loose ball outside the area and hit a remarkable left-footed strike into the top left corner of goal.

Atletico needed a big performance in the second half, but Manuel Pellegrini's men were soaking up the pressure well and frustrating the hosts. Diego had a chance when he picked up a loose ball in the area, but his shot was deflected wide.

The hosts were getting closer to an equaliser, and on 69 minutes, they finally found a way through the Malaga defence. A corner was punched away by Kameni, but only as far as Koke, who, on the edge of the area, rifled a shot past the goalkeeper and into the net.

The Andalusian side did not let their shoulders drop. Straight away, Isco drove forward and laid the ball into the path of Sebastian Fernandez, but his low drive was saved by the feet of Thibaut Courtois.

With 10 minutes remaining, Atleti completed their comeback. A bouncing loose ball caught out the visitors' defence, and Adrian pounced on it as he finished with aplomb into the bottom corner.

The 2-1 victory means the Europa League finalists can still qualify for next season’s Champions League, as they are now only two points behind their opponents tonight. Atleti travel to Villarreal next week for the final matchday, while Malaga take on a Sporting Gijon side who need a win to have a chance of avoiding relegation.