Valencia stuns ‘weakest’ Atletico Madrid as Duro hits two

Atletico coach Diego Simeone said his side produced their “weakest” performance of his 12-year reign in a 3-0 thrashing of Valencia on Saturday in La Liga. Los Che have started the season well after flirting with relegation until the final day of the previous campaign and this was their best performance to date under coach Ruben Baraja. Simeone has faced many different Valencia managers in almost 12 years in charge and had lost just twice before this defeat to Mestalla in 28 matches.

“We had the weakest match since I arrived at the club and we have to congratulate our opponents,” said Simeone.

Defeat was the worst way for Atletico to prepare for the start of their Champions League campaign on Tuesday at Lazio. “They came into the game with a lot more intensity and if you don’t match that… it’s impossible to win any game,” the Atletico goalkeeper said Jan Oblak.

“They deserved to win, we have to congratulate them and we have to look in the mirror. We know we can give a lot more than we gave today.

“We lacked everything today… we played a very bad game, we lost 3-0 and it hurts a lot.”

Atletico suffered their first defeat of the season as they went down without a fight. Spanish striker Duro, 23, slid in at the near post to fire into the roof of Oblak’s net after just five minutes.

The striker kept his composure to beat the Slovenian goalkeeper again as he was sent through on goal by Fran Perez after shrugging. Axel Witsel.

“It was important to win after two losses and we did it against a great opponent,” said Duro. “We may be a small team, but we will give everything.”

Javi Guerra scored the third goal with a fine solo move and finished inside Oblak’s near post as Los Che continued to dominate. Valencia could have extended their lead but Oblak saved well from Diego Lopez in the closing stages, among other openings.

“I’m not angry at all, I know the players we have, the group in the dressing room, but I accept it when we’ve played a bad game,” added Simeone.

Earlier, Athletic Bilbao recorded a convincing 3-0 win over Cadiz to climb provisionally into second place behind leaders Real Madrid, who host Real Sociedad on Sunday. Champions Barcelona welcome Real Betis later on Saturday.

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