Costa makes winning return

Diego Costa repaid the faith of his coach as he found the target on his return in Atletico Madrid's 3-0 victory at Real Valladolid.

Last Updated: 17/02/13 at 20:28

Diego Costa: Scored on his return to the Atletico side

Diego Costa: Scored on his return to the Atletico side

Diego Costa repaid the faith of his coach as he found the target on his return to the side in Atletico Madrid's morale-boosting 3-0 victory at Real Valladolid.

Brazilian forward Costa was suspended for Atletico's last two games, against both Rayo Vallecano in the Primera Division and Rubin Kazan in the Europa League, both of which ended in defeat.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone backed Costa to help his side snap their poor form on his return and he duly delivered, his well-taken second-half goal adding to Radamel Falcao's early opener.

Cristian Rodriguez added a late third as Atletico won on the road for the first time since November 18 to close back to within 12 points of leaders Barcelona.

Second-placed Atletico had won just two of their last six games in all competitions heading into tonight's contest but never looked in any danger of ending with anything other than all three points as Valladolid turned in an abject display.

The hosts failed to muster a shot on target over the 90 minutes and they may yet be eternally grateful for the current 10-point gap they enjoy above the relegation zone if performances continue in a similar vein.

Atletico wasted little time in taking the lead, just 10 minutes on the clock when Falcao netted his 23rd of the season, although the Colombian was lucky to be given the benefit of the doubt in a close offside call.

Omar created the opening as Diego Godin latched on to his free-kick to fire an effort that Daniel Hernandez could only parry, and Falcao was in the right place to bundle the ball home.

Atletico were good value for their lead and Costa might have made it 2-0 at the break but his lobbed effort was saved by Hernandez.

Costa did make it two just eight minutes into the second half, the forward played in by Jorge Koke's cute header and he finished low and hard beyond the goalkeeper.

As Valladolid's lamentable efforts up front continued, coach Miroslav Djukic threw on Angola striker Manucho to add a bit of muscle, but the change did little to affect the course of the match as Thibaut Courtois remained a spectator in the visitors' goal.

The visitors' victory was cemented in the final minute as a defensive blunder allowed Rodriguez to add a third, the substitute gleefully poking the ball home from close range after Antonio Rukavina's attempted chest back to his goalkeeper fell short.

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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