Liga - Soldado scores again as Valencia win

Sat, 10 Sep 22:56:00 2011

Valencia maintained their 100 per cent record at the start of the season in La Liga with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Mestalla.

Roberto Soldado - 0

Roberto Soldado's fearsome scoring form continued as he headed in the winner early in the second half to follow up the hat-trick he scored in the opening-weekend 4-3 win over Racing Santander.

Despite handing a debut to big-money striker Radamel Falcao, Atletico have still not scored in the league this season following their goalless draw with Osasuna two weeks ago.

Valencia will go into their Champions League match away to Genk joint-top of La Liga with Real Madrid on six points ahead of the weekend's other matches.

Soldado ended last season scoring 12 goals in nine matches for Valencia, and he looked a threat from the outset against the Copa del Rey holders.

The former Real Madrid striker played one-on-one with Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but the youngster on loan from Chelsea spread himself well to deny him.

The Belgian 19-year-old was beaten soon afterwards when Soldado's through ball with converted by Tino Costa, but the lineman's flag was up for offside. Replays showed that Costa was level with the last man when the ball was played, but the goal was struck off.

Soldado again was the man who could have broken Atletico 20 minutes in when Pablo Hernandez picked him out with a cross to the far post that sat up perfectly for the volley, but the Spain international thumped his strike into the crowd.

The breakthrough finally came seven minutes after the break when right-back Miguel pinged in an inch-perfect first-time cross for Soldado to meet at the far post and head past Courtois.

Falcao did not have a great deal of influence on his debut for the Rojiblancos. It may take some time for him to adapt to his new club, but the fact that the Colombian scored 41 goals in 50 league games for Porto suggests he will come good sooner rather than later.

The closest he came to opening his account in Spain was when he got a shot away during a scramble in the Valencia, but a combination of goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and defender Adil Rami blocked his efforts.

Atletico boss Gregorio Manzano brought on two more new signings - Brazil playmaker Diego and Turkey midfielder Arda Turan - what the visitors were unable to fashion too many chances.

One gilt-edged opportunity did fall to Turan, who drew an excellent reaction save from Guaita at the near post when Falcao was screaming for the simple square pass, but it is clear that Atletico will need time to fully recover from the loss of strike duo Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the summer.

Tony Mabert - on Twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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