January 20, 2013
Falcao injury mars win
Atletico Madrid stretched their home winning streak to 18 games in all competitions as goals from Adrian Lopez and Koke decided a comfortable 2-0 win over Levante.
Adrian opened the scoring in the 32nd minute by firing into an empty net after an excellent run and cross by teenager Javier Manquillo, who was making his league debut in place of the injured Juanfran.
Koke then ended the game as a contest with a stunning strike from outside the box on the hour mark but the hosts' joy was tempered by the sight of Radamel Falcao limping off with what looked like a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a number of weeks.
After Barcelona's shock 3-2 defeat to Real Sociedad, Atleti knew victory would take them to within eight points of the Catalans but Falcao was prevented from giving them the perfect start when David Navarro blocked the Colombian's headed effort after just three minutes.
At the other end Thibaut Courtois was forced into a decent save on a fierce hit from Ruben Garcia in the 24th minute while Cristian Rodriguez also skewed wide when well placed as Atleti continued to probe.
Their patience, however, was rewarded with a fine team goal 13 minutes before the break.
A brilliant ball over the top of the Levante defence from Tiago found Manquillo bursting into the box and he laid the ball across for Adrian to score only his third league goal of the season.
Atleti were slightly fortunate not to concede moments later, though, as both Courtois and Diego Godin tried to get a touch on Christian Lell's dangerous cross from the right, with the Uruguayan very nearly turning the ball into his own net.
The second half was only 12 minutes old when Falcao galloped on to a ball over the top, but he pulled up quickly before signalling to the bench that he needed to be replaced.
Despite losing their key man, Atleti doubled their advantage just three minutes later as Koke picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal and bent a beautiful dipping shot into the top corner.
Obafemi Martins came close to registering an instant reply for the visitors with a shot that trickled just past Courtois' far post, but thereafter Levante rarely threatened to break Atleti's 10-game streak of clean sheets at the Vicente Calderon.
The contest was settled but Rodriguez very nearly added a third goal 13 minutes from time as he smashed a rasping drive against the crossbar.
|13 Thibaut Courtois||1 Gustavo Munua|
|5 Tiago||23 Pape Diop|
|3 Filipe Luis||19 Pedro López|
|23 Miranda||18 Sergio Ballesteros|
|26 Javi Manquillo||22 Christian Lell|
|14 Gabi||8 Nabil El Zhar|
|6 Koke||4 David Navarro|
|9 Radamel Falcao||29 Rubén García|
|2 Diego Godín||24 Obafemi Martins|
|11 Cristian Rodriguez||21 Michel|
|7 Adrián||10 Vicente Iborra de la Fuente|
|21 Belozoglu Emre||Jose Barkero 7|
|8 Raúl García||Juanlu 20|
|4 Mario Suárez||Keylor Navas 13|
|10 Arda Turan||Nikos Karabelas 15|
|19 Diego Costa||Hector Rodas 5|
|18 Daniel Díaz||Pedro Ríos 16|
|1 Sergio Asenjo||Roger 27|
|Diego Costa for Radamel Falcao (58)||Jose Barkero for Nabil El Zhar (61)|
|Raúl García for Gabi (66)||Juanlu for Michel (73)|
|Arda Turan for Adrián (73)||Roger for Rubén García (81)|
|Gabi (20)||Pedro López (41)|
|Gustavo Munua (78)|
|Sergio Ballesteros (90)|
|· Squads: Atletico Madrid | Levante|