This Tuesday, Valencia hosted Atalanta at the Mestalla Stadium in the second-leg game of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. It was an “almost-impossible” task for Valencia, as they were defeated 4-1 in Italy in the 1st leg. Also, the Spanish team couldn’t count on their supporters at the Mestalla, as the game was behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
Even playing away, Italy’s best attack ran a show and scored four in the 4-3 win over Valencia.
The match’s highlight was the Slovenian striker, Josep Ilicic, as he scored all four goals of Atalanta’s away win over Valencia.
The referee had just whistled for the first time when in the first minute of the match Ilicic was brought down inside the area by Diakhaby. Penalty for Atalanta, which was taken by Ilicic himself to open the scoring at the Mestalla.
At this point, the hosts would need four goals to take the game into extra time. Valencia reached the equalizer with 20 minutes. Kevin Gameiro won a dispute with Palomino and slotted home. 1-1.
More controversy involving both Diakhaby and Ilicic came on 41 minutes, as the Valencia defender touched the ball with his arm inside the area. After a VAR check, the referee went for another pen for the visitors. Once again, Ilicic was the one who converted. 1-2 Atalanta.
After the break, Valencia’s manager introduced striker Goncalo Guedes for the responsible for two pens, Diakhaby, and made the team more offensive.
Then, on 50 minutes, Gameiro scored again to give some hope for the Spaniards.
The Bats even turned it around, as they reached the third with 66 on the clock. Ferran Torres was the author of the goal, as the hosts needed three more to qualify.
However, Ilicic proved he was truly on fire and scored twice more. No other penalties needed by the way. The Slovenian striker received from Zapata and completed his hat trick, and made it four on 81 minutes, giving final numbers to the match.
Ilicic is the 4th player in UCL history to score four goals in a knockout game. What a story from the Slovenian striker, and also from the Bergamo-based team.