Forlan brace lifts Atletico to 11th

MADRID: Diego Forlan scored twice as Atletico Madrid won 4-1 against Valencia, which ended the game with nine men in the Spanish league on Sunday.

The result means Valencia stay third on 46 points and Atletico moves up to 11th on 30. David Silva put Valencia ahead in the 20th minute, dribbling round goalkeeper David de Gea and carefully placing his shot. Forlan equalised with a penalty in the 30th after Carlos Marchena was ruled to have handled the ball in the area. Referee Perez Burrull did not punish the infraction until Atletico’s players persuaded him to consult with the fourth official. Sergio Aguero gave Atletico the lead with a header from a Simao Sabrosa corner in the 78th, his 50th career Spanish league goal. Forlan scored again in the 85th and Jose Manuel Jurado added the fourth in injury time.

Atletico attacked from the start with Simao Sabrosa hitting the post in the third minute while Forlan and Jose Antonio Reyes also coming close. With the score even and Valencia a man down following Marchena’s expulsion, Atletico looked likely to score again.

Goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez made a spectacular save from a Sabrosa freekick in the 55th before making another stop minutes later from Reyes. However, Valencia still pushed for the winner and coach Unai Emery replaced Joaquin Sanchez with another attacking midfielder, Pablo Hernandez. Luis Miguel Brito was unlucky to be expelled 10 minutes from the end for a tackle on Juan Valera. As the clock ticked down Valencia tired and Atletico’s forwards took full advantage to put the game out of reach.

Earlier, Joseba Llorente scored the winner as Villarreal beat Deportivo La Coruna 1-0. Also, Mallorca went fifth on 40 points after winning 2-1 at Valladolid with a late goal from Julio Alvarez. Victory closed the gap on Sevilla, who are fourth on 43 points after earning a 0-0 draw against Athletic Bilbao. Sporting Gijon beat Osasuna 3-2, bottom-of-league Xerez drew 1-1 with Espanyol and Almeria won 2-0 at Racing Santander.