Joaquin gives Valencia victory against troubled Atletico
Feb 12, 2011, 19:04 GMT
Madrid - Atletico Madrid's crisis continued on Saturday with a late 2-1 defeat at home to injury-hit Valencia, for whom former Spain winger Joaquin was the two-goal hero.
The latest setback leaves Atletico stranded in eighth place, with 30 points from 23 games, and will almost certainly spell the sack for embattled coach Quique Sanchez Flores.
Valencia are now third with 47 points, two points above fourth-placed Villarreal, who are away to Deportivo Coruna on Sunday.
Jose Antonio Reyes gave Atletico the lead after just four minutes, with a left-foot drive after being played through by Diego Forlan. But the hosts failed to score a second goal and Valencia gradually came out of their shell.
Three minutes before half-time one of Atletico's habitual defensive disasters allowed Joaquin to make it 1-1. Atletico's Luis Perea, so often the culprit over the years, made a mess of a centre from Valencia left-back Jordi and left Joaquin all alone to score.
In the 57th minute Atletico were given a penalty for a foul by Hedwiges Maduro on the lively Reyes, but the out-of-form Forlan hit the post with his spot-kick.
Reprieved Valencia grew in confidence and Joaquin scored the winner four minutes from time with a powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area.
Things went from bad to worse for luckless Atletico when defender Diego Godin was harshly sent off for a push on Joaquin.
The game finished with the crowd baying for the blood of Atletico president Enrique Cerezo and general director Migual Angel Gil Marin. The reaction of this pair will, in all probability, be to sack Sanchez Flores rather than blame themselves for the crisis.
Later on Saturday, runaway leaders Barcelona were due to visit lowly Sporting Gijon.
Barca are seven points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, who are away to sixth-placed Espanyol on Sunday.
Saturday's late game was due to bring together lowly Racing Santander and troubled Sevilla.
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