Atletico held at Valencia as Liverpool loom


Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid were twice pegged back in Friday’s 2-2 draw at Valencia to keep Diego Simeone’s side in fourth in La Liga ahead of Liverpool’s visit next week.

Atletico host the runaway Premier League leaders at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday.

Twenty four hours later Valencia are in Italy to take on Atalanta in Milan.

Atletico’s Real Madrid recruit Marcos Llorente right-footed the visitors’ into an early lead before a close range header from Gabriel Paulista got Valencia back level five minutes before the break.

Three minutes later Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey had Atletico back in front only for Geoffrey Kondogbia to earn Valencia a share of the points off a set piece after the restart.

This was Atletico’s 10th stalemate of the season and it left them on 40 points, with Valencia in sixth, two points adrift.

La Liga conveniently brought the game forward to Friday with their Champions League opponents both playing league matches on Saturday.

Barcelona, trailing Real by three points, host Getafe, the surprise occupants of third place, on Saturday. Real are in action Sunday against Celta Vigo.

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