Atletico Madrid climb to third in La Liga after 'vital' win over Valladolid - in pictures

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Playing their first match inside an empty Wanda Metropolitano, Simeone's side earned all three points thanks to a late goal from Vitolo

Atletico Madrid midfielder Vitolo, second left, celebrates with teammates after scoring against Real Valladolid at the Wanda Metropolitan. AFP

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey (L) and Valladolid´s Matheus Fernandes tussle for the ball. EPA

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke (L) and Valladolid´s Matheus Fernandes compete for the ball. EPA

Atletico Madrid's players celebrate after Vitolo scored against Real Valladolid. EPA

Atletico Madrid's manager Diego Simeone reacts from the touchline. EPA

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey and Valladolid´s Matheus Fernandes compete for a header. EPA

Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid holds off Kike Perez of Real Valladolid. Getty Images

Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata (L) holds of a challenge from Valladolid defender Francisco Jose Olivas. EPA

Atletico Madrid midfielder Joao Felix (L) and Valladolid´s Michel challenge for the ball. EPA

Vitolo scores Atletico Madrid's first goal against Real Valladolid. Getty Images

Vitolo scores Atletico Madrid's first goal against Real Valladolid. Getty Images

Atletico Madrid's players celebrate after Vitolo scored against Real Valladolid. Reuters

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The National

June 21, 2020

June 21, 2020

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Atletico Madrid moved up to third in the Spanish league table on Saturday after grinding to a 1-0 home win over Real Valladolid thanks to a late header from substitute Vitolo.

Vitolo cashed in from poor positioning from Valladolid's debutant goalkeeper Jose Antonio Caro to head the ball just over the goalline. Although it was headed away by a defender, a VAR review ratified the linesman's decision to award the goal.

The victory moved Atletico to 52 points after 30 games, level with fourth-placed Sevilla, but gave them a four-point cushion over fifth-placed Getafe to further boost their chances of a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.

Valladolid are 15th on 33 points, seven points above the relegation zone.

"Valladolid are a very hard-working and organised team and were very tight at the back and in the middle. It was very hard to find any gaps," said match winner Vitolo.

"In the end we had to get the goal from a set play but we've earned three vital points."

Playing for the first time without fans at the Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico lacked the fluidity they showed in their 5-0 thrashing at Osasuna last Wednesday and were fortunate not to go behind as Valladolid impressed in the first half.

Visiting midfielder Waldo Rubio unleashed a vicious long distance strike early in the game to force an outstanding save from Atleti keeper Jan Oblak, while Brazilian Matheus Fernandes narrowly missed the target following a swift counterattack.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone was unable to engage in his usual habit of whipping the Metropolitano crowd into a frenzy as fans are still not allowed into stadiums for safety reasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the coach still frantically paced along the touchline to bark orders at his players and he wildly gesticulated at the referee when Vitolo's header looked to have crossed the line.

Simeone had started without Diego Costa but turned to the combative striker midway through the second half, one of five attacking changes he made to try and break down the resolute visitors.

Costa missed two good chances to score but helped cause the chaos which led to the breakthrough, out-jumping Caro and glancing the ball across for Vitolo to head across the line.

Updated: June 21, 2020 08:34 AM

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