Valencia 1-3 Atletico Madrid: Fernando Torres scores as Gary Neville's side are beaten
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 06/03/16 10:00pm
Atletico Madrid kept up the pressure on Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a 3-1 win at Valencia, who ended the game with 10 men, on Sunday night.
Diego Simeone's side took the lead at the Mestalla through Antoine Griezmann's long-range strike midway through the first half, but Denis Cheryshev levelled the game soon afterwards for Valencia.
Substitute Torres then put Atletico back in front 18 minutes from time on his 300th appearance for the club, before Valencia defender Aderlan Santos was dismissed for a second yellow card. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco also came off the bench to add a late third.
The result sees Atletico close the gap on Barcelona to eight points again, after the league leaders won comfortably at Eibar earlier in the day.
Atletico edged the early stages and Luciano Vietto had two great opportunities to put his side in front when the game was still goalless.
But the 22-year-old striker showed his lack of confidence at the moment - having scored just once in La Liga for Atletico this season - by failing to hit the target with a volley at the far post, before bending one over when the ball fell to him unmarked at a corner.
He did, however, play a key role in the build-up to Atletico's goal in the 24th minute, winning the ball back deep in Valencia's half before Koke played in Griezmann and the Frenchman slammed home a low shot past Diego Alves from the edge of the area.
Valencia rallied superbly, though, and it took them less than four minutes to get level.
Paco Alcacer did brilliantly to nod a cross into the path of his team-mate Cheryshev in the area, and the Real Madrid loanee took a touch before firing past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
All of Atletico's big opportunities seemed to be falling to Vietto, and only a wonderful save from Alves prevented the away side from retaking the lead on the hour mark.
Griezmann's knockdown was controlled by Vietto, who took one touch before smashing a volley at goal, only for the Valencia keeper to get a hand to it and touch it onto the bar.
The game could have swung either way, but the decisive moment came in the 72nd minute as Torres, who may have lost his pace but still knows where the goal is, tapped in at the far post after Jose Maria Gimenez headed on Koke's corner.
And with 10 minutes to go it was game over, as Aderlan Santos saw red for bringing down Torres, before Ferreira Carrasco's shot squirmed past Alves late on to complete the scoring.