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Thu Apr 24 18:45:35 SAST 2014

Unstoppable Falcao sees off Athletic

Tim Hanlon, Sapa-AFP | 28 August, 2012 06:580 Comments
Club Atletico de Madrid v Athletic Club - La Liga
Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring a goal with teammate Koke during the La Liga match against Athletic Bilbao at Vicente Calderon Stadium on August 27, 2012 in Madrid, Spain
Image by: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

Colombian hotshot Radamel Falcao hit a hat-trick as Atletico Madrid cruised to a 4-0 victory on Monday over Athletic Bilbao, their opponents in last season’s Europa League final.

The Basque side were seeking revenge for the defeat in Bucharest but in a repeat of that game last May, the Atletico forward line and in particular Falcao came out on top.

Falcao hit a double in the 3-0 European final and got his first on Monday night after 20 minutes. He swivelled around Mikel San Jose and clipped the ball over the keeper Gorka Iraizoz from a tight angle.

There is a mood of uncertainty at Athletic Bilbao with the futures of Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez in the air and the team appeared unsure of themselves especially in defence where Martinez did so well last season.

Both Martinez and Llorente have been excluded from the squad until a final decision is made on whether they stay or go.

Falcao headed over before adding his second before half time when he tucked the ball home at the far post from a deep cross from Diego Godin.

Athletic were in disarray after the break and a handball by Carlos Gurpegi in the area led to Falcao completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot. The home side had a hatful of chances but their only further goal came from substitute Tiago Cardoso.

Newly-promoted Valladolid continued their 100 percent start to the season after two penalties gave them a 2-0 victory over ten-man Levante.

After a bright start from Valladolid, Angel Rodriguez had a couple of good openings to give the visitors the lead but the game turned on the 37th minute when defender David Navarro conceded a penalty for handball and was given his second yellow card.

Victor Perez made no mistake with his spot-kick and then shortly after the break he added a second again from 12 yards. This time it was Papa Diop the culprit who upended Julian Omar.

Although early days Barcelona’s 2-1 victory over Osasuna on Sunday has put them top of the table on goal difference and they are already five points clear of Real Madrid who slumped to a 2-1 defeat away to local rivals Getafe.

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