In the strangest epic attempt to be remembered in the history of the Champions League, Valencia could not get the comeback against Atalanta. Those of Gian Piero Gasperini with a Ilicic huge, who scored four goals, were crowned in Mestalla and will be in the quarterfinals for the first time in their history. And that the Slovenian had not scored a goal in the group stage.
No audience in the stands and with a rarefied atmosphere, one is not accustomed to hearing the cries of Diakhaby, which unfortunately did not have its night. Committed two penalties in the first part and Valencia could not wear the costume of the great European nights. The one who did put it on the Ilicic Balkan.
If in the schools the premise to construct sentences is based on subject, verb and predicate, the basic rule for a great comeback is clear: not to concede a goal. And there Diakhaby seems to have missed class. The young French defender, replaced by his poor performance at the end of the first 45 minutes, knocked down Ilicic inside the area when not even three minutes had passed. Celades, in the band, could not believe it and the Slovenian, who is sweet and took the ball home, did not fail from eleven meters. Without public and with a goal at the first exchange, the thing could not go worse. Or yes, because it seemed that Atalanta was the one who went below in the overall of the tie. With up to six men in the opposite field, those of Gasperini pressed very high and Even felt helpless for not being able to start the game of his team. The one that comes to us must have thought the fans who met in the vicinity of Mestalla.
But his Valencia, capable of the best and the worst this season, did not lower his arms and in adversity tried to grow. With Rodrigo and Gameiro as referents above, the Celades, with another good game of Ferrán Torres, began to disturb Sportiello. He tried first with a whip from outside the area the Brazilian Hispanic, but it would be his partner who first beat the Italian goal after a bad clearance from Palomino. There was still a long way to go and the spirit of the comeback was still alive. But when Valencia believed it most and when that second goal was needed to get the second half alive, Diakhaby reappeared. In one of the many overflows of Ilicic, the ball hit the Frenchman and the referee, who had to go to the VAR monitor, said penalty. The attacker threw this time on the right side of Cillesen and the Atalanta, when he was least deserving, went to the locker room ahead.
Atalanta does not practice the best football in Europe, but a direct and very effective game. And is that Gasperini are with 70 goals the most scorer team in Serie A and the third in the big leagues.
Without Diakhaby, who stayed in the locker room, Celades knew he had to play it and put Guedes in the field. He went on to a scheme of three plants. You had to die attacking and Valencia came to get ahead after Gameiro saw the door again and with a subtle touch of Vaseline Ferrán Torres beat Sportiello. But Atalanta and Ilicic didn’t want to go home empty-handed and the Slovenian scored two more goals. The attacker had no mercy and returned to Italy with a poker under his arm. He had ten goals in 2020 and in just over ninety minutes he added four more.
The score did justice to a Valencia that was inferior in the tie. The balance does not deceive: 4-8. Now many remember the wasted occasions in San Siro and the inopportune hands of Diakhaby. But the Atalanta, who was Cinderella in the round of 16 ate a Valencia, who left Mestalla eliminated and with the Fallas postponed. Black day in Valencia.