Liga - Falcao helps Atletico past Valladolid

La Liga, Estadio Nuevo Jose Zorrilla - Real Valladolid 0 Atletico Madrid 3 (Falcao 11, Costa 53, Rodriguez 90)

Liga - Falcao helps Atletico past Valladolid

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Atletico Madrid celebrate Falcao's opener (AFP)

Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at Real Valladolid that helped maintain their push for second place in La Liga.

After back-to-back defeats to Rayo Vallecano in the league and Rubin Kazan in the Europa League, forwards Falcao and Diego Costa were both on target to help move Atleti seven points clear of Real Madrid in second place, ahead of their city rivals' match with Rayo later on Sunday evening.

Falcao's goal was his 60th for the club in only 75 games - not a record to satisfy Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but superb nonetheless for the surprise package in La Liga this season - while Cristian Rodriguez rounded off the scoring in the dying minutes.

Falcao, unsurprisingly, had the opening chance of the match as he drilled in an effort from 20 yards that Daniel Hernandez smothered on his line in the home goal.

However, Falcao would not be denied after 11 minutes. A cute free-kick was chipped into the box for Diego Godin, and when his close-range volley was expertly saved by Hernandez, the Colombia striker was following up to tap the ball home on the line for his 20th league goal of the season.

Costa was also lively as Atleti dominated a Valladolid side who failed to have a single shot on target all evening. The forward saw one deflected effort rustle the side netting and, towards the end of the half, failed to lift his shot over the stranded Hernandez when being played in by Gabi.

Costa further coaxed Jesus Rueda into a horrible challenge which earned the defender a booking when spinning away from him, with Miranda having a header saved from Gabi's subsequent free-kick.

After Thibaut Courtois got away with a flap at a high ball into the box - under pressure it must be said - Atleti extended their lead, predictably through Costa as he netted against his former side.

Arda Turan attempted to head the ball square and after it looped up off a defender 20 yards from goal, Koke nodded it through for Costa, who took the finish well as he lashed a shot close to the body of Hernandez.

Manucho was introduced in attempt to get Valladolid back in the game but while he was left free from a ball over the top as Godin make a complete mess of the offside trap, the Angola striker sent his looping header over the bar.

There was still time for Rodriguez to add a third as he exploited a defensive lapse from Antonio Rukavina to latch onto an attempted chest back to Hernandez and poke a shot past the keeper as Atleti continued their unlikely challenge for second place.

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