The capital club secure a morale-boosting win over the Balearic visitors...Goals from Juan Valera, Diego Forlan and Jose Reyes eased the pressure on Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez Flores and recorded a 3-0 win over Mallorca at the Vicente Calderon this evening.
Valera's near post header along with the Uruguayan striker's neat finish put Los Colchoneros in a strong position, and for all Mallorca's good build up play, Reyes' injury-time strike secured the win, after both sides had been reduced to ten men.
Atleti fans would have been forgiven for being nervous prior to kick-off, given Mallorca’s propensity for performing well away from home against established teams; Michael Laudrup’s side had already defeated Sevilla and Valencia as well as drawing at the Camp Nou.
However, their nerves were settled early in the match when defender Juan Valera gave them the lead. Jose Reyes’ near-post corner caught the visitors napping, and the full-back leapt highest to nod the ball past the static Dudu Aouate.
Despite Atletico’s advantage, it was Laudrup’s team who enjoyed the majority of possession, and looked more likely. Jonathan de Guzman and Pierre Webo both went close, before the hosts doubled their lead against the run of play.
Fran Merida brought the ball forward with pace and slid a well-timed through pass into the path of Diego Forlan, who dummied Aouate to slide into the empty net, and in turn net his first league goal for two months.
Mallorca felt hard done by - they had did most of the running yet had nothing to show for their efforts. Laudrup responded by removing the ineffective Victor and throwing on Gonzalo Castro.
The Uruguayan gave the Islanders a different dimension, with more trickery and guile, and Mallorca continued to control the match. But they were unable to convert their dominance into clear-cut opportunities.
That was until 20 minutes from time, when they were thrown a lifeline from the penalty spot. Antonio Lopez bundled over Nsue inside the box, and being the last defender, the left-back had to go. Atleti were down to ten, and facing a spot kick.
Step forward David de Gea. The 20-year-old shot stopper had already made saves from Castro and Webo, and when the latter stepped up to pass the ball to the keeper’s left, De Gea guessed right to parry the ball to safety.
Despite holding a man advantage, Mallorca were deflated and eventually lost their discipline. With minutes remaining, De Guzman lashed out with a wild tackle on substitute Juanfran, and although a red may have been harsh, his dismissal signalled the end of the contest.
Reyes' added a third in the dying embers, slipping the ball through the legs of Aouate as he advance and Mallorca may feel hard done by in respect of the final scoreline, but Flores will be relieved to see his team record their first win of 2011.
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