La Liga: Falcao firepower lets Atlético dream
The Colombian striker has been on scintillating form this season and his goal against Osasuna at the weekend was his 10th in nine games.
By Halima Ali
He struck again at the weekend, scoring the winner, his 10th league goal of the season on match day nine and sending fans into raptures in the Spanish capital. He has done it time and time again this season, carrying his teammates on his back if needs be, turning a game with his individual brilliance and a seemingly insatiable appetite for goals.
He has carried his side all the way to the top of the league in joint place with Barcelona on 25 points from a possible 27 and his name is being touted as a possible FIFA Ballon d’Or winner. But what is most astonishing about the man in question, is that he does not play decked in white, he plies his trade for the other team in the city, Atlético Madrid, who thanks to Radamel Falcao now sit above their cross-town rivals in the liga table.
Brought into the club in the summer of 2011 with a hefty €40 million price tag – the highest transfer fee in Atléti’s history – to fill the shoes of the departed Sergio Agüero, he has proved a more than adequate replacement, notching 36 goals for the club in his first season.
The Colombian also has a knack of scoring when it matters, netting his side’s opening two goals in a 3–0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the UEFA Europa League final. In doing so, Falcao not only became the top goal scorer in the competition for a second time, but also the first player in history to win two consecutive Europa League trophies with two different teams (the other was Porto).
On the final day of the transfer window this summer, he was at it again, single-handedly destroying the Champions League winners Chelsea with three goals in a 4-1 victory over the English side in the Super Cup final. Demolishing yet more records, his goals meant he became the first player in history to score a hat trick in the final of the competition in its current format.
In his second season at the club, and now under the wing of manager Diego Simeone, the man he knew in Argentina as a boy, Falcao is pushing Atléti to heights not seen in many years. Twenty-two victories without defeat in competitive games and eight wins and one draw in la liga leave the Madrileños riding high.
The latest victory was over Osasuna at the weekend, when the hosts got two goals in four minutes from Miranda and Raúl García at the Vicente Calderón, before Roland Lamah reduced the deficit just before half-time with a lovely curling effort from outside the area, leaving the game perfectly poised for Falcao.
With 17 minutes remaining, a controlled volley from a Juanfran cross ensured victory for his team and the God-fearing Colombian took his tally to 17 goals in his past 11 games for club and country. Los Rojiblancos have now gone 23 games unbeaten and the win on Sunday equalled the run from the double-winning campaign of 1995/1996 and sees the club well on course for their highest league finish since then.
It may be too early in the season to be definitive and supporters of Atlético Madrid may not want to dare to dream, but in this kind of form, who is to say the “other” Madrid team could not prove serious title challengers? They already sit above their illustrious neighbours Real Madrid who are currently in fourth position and an impressive Málaga side in third.
Their next big challenge will come with the Madrid derby against José Mourinho’s men in just over a month, a rival Atlético have not managed to beat in 13 long years. A victory at the Santiago Bernabéu usually seems impossible – but with Falcao leading the charge, Atlético are reaching new heights.
Real Valladolid 2 – 2 Real Sociedad
RCD Mallorca 0 – 5 Real Madrid
Atlético Madrid 3 – 1 Osasuna
Athletic Bilbao 1 – 2 Getafe CF
Levante UD 3 – 1 Granada CF
Real Zaragoza 2 – 1 Sevilla FC
Rayo Vallecano 0 – 5 FC Barcelona
Celta de Vigo 1 – 1 Deportivo La Coruña
Real Betis 1 – 0 Valencia CF
RCD Espanyol 0 – 0 Málaga CF
Next: Euro unchanged on Sandy, presidential election
Previous: A necessary crisis for Spain’s Socialists
Published: Oct 30 2012
Category: Spain News, Sports
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
Short URL: http://iberosphere.com/?p=7213
You can follow any responses to this entry via RSS 2.0
Tags: CF, Falco, la liga, Liga, Los Rojiblancos, spain, Spain football, spain news, spain soccer, spanish football, Spanish soccer