Over the past several years, Valencia have proven to be quite the thorn in Atlético Madrid's side. Aside from the title-winning season of 2013-14 (and prior to Sunday), Atleti failed to beat Valencia in every league season this decade. Just last season, Atleti were smashed 3-1 at Mestalla before being held to a 1-1 draw at the Calderón.
A reversal in fortunes was on the cards for Sunday, as los colchoneros beat los Che for the first time in 18 months. An overwhelming first-half display, which contained goals from Jackson Martínez and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, powered Atlético to victory, even as a Paco Alcácer penalty gave Valencia life in the final 20 minutes. Atleti move into the top three with the win and are just two points off the summit with a visit to A Coruña up next.
Jan Oblak, GK: 6
The Slovenian had little to deal with on Sunday, as Valencia managed only one shot on target and he ended the game with the ball in his hands. Alcácer sent him the wrong way on his penalty, but Oblak can't be faulted there.
Juanfran, RB: 7
Solid as ever, Juanfran was dangerous throughout and was just as steady bombing forward as he was in defense. He even managed to get in position for a half-chance with the score at 2-1. One of the finest right-backs in Europe.
Diego Godín, CB: 5
Unusually poor game from Godín. The Uruguayan was more than a little clumsy and conceded a penalty after an ill-advised body-slam on Shkodran Mustafi. More than likely a blip on the radar for the pharaoh, look for him to bounce back in Galicia on Friday.
José Giménez, CB: 6
Not Joséma's best game, either. Was pretty effective playing balls out of defense, but he wasn't particularly influential otherwise as the game was mostly concentrated on the wings and in midfield.
Filipe Luís, LB: 7
Filipe notched the assist on Jackson's goal as both Mustafi and Aderlan Santos failed to clear his long ball. He dealt well with the little pressure Valencia offered and went forward with aplomb. The Brazilian appears to be resettling fine.
Koke, RM: 7
Koke began this game on the left but soon moved over to the right-hand side. He recorded a game-high 88 touches and showed off an improved set-piece delivery while combining with Juanfran to limit the dangerous young duo of Gayà and Santi Mina on the left side. Stud.
Tiago, CM: 8.5
I was tempted to give Man of the Match to Tiago, but YFC exists. Still, the Portuguese was superb on Sunday, expertly shielding the back four with his outstanding positioning and wisely picking his spots to attack. He proved to be a major problem for Valencia's attack and continues to defy his age.
Gabi, CM: 6.5
Decent outing for the captain. Gabi didn't get all the touches we're accustomed to seeing, but he was full of running and intensity as he and Tiago battled Dani Parejo and Enzo Pérez in midfield. He continues to remind one of his 2013-14 form rather than his 2014-15 form.
Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, LM: 9
Here's your MOTM. Carrasco started this game on the right but soon moved to the left as he followed up his 90-minute masterpiece against Astana with a scintillating 68-minute shift Sunday. His directness and breathtaking pace are qualities the team didn't really have at his position last year. He has already developed great chemistry with his full-backs and pressed with gusto when asked to cover for them, and his sensational solo goal five minutes before halftime was the icing on the cake. Simeone was thrilled with YFC in his post-match presser; the supporters are, too.
Antoine Griezmann, FW: 7
Even though he didn't score, the Frenchman found ways to contribute and put in another solid day at the office. His passing and positioning split open Valencia's center-back pairing on a few occasions (most notably when he sprung Jackson free late in the first half), he was good in the air and he pressed hard. Always want to see him score, but he has become such a complete player that it's possible to enjoy him even when he doesn't.
Jackson Martínez, FW: 7
The big Colombian's adjustment period may be nearing its end. Jackson scored the opener after a mix-up between Valencia's center-backs and looks more and more comfortable with his teammates and his positioning. Was somewhat surprising to see him taken off when he was, but Jackson is on the up-and-up.
Fernando Torres, FW: 5
Came on for Jackson just before the hour. El Niño had a good headed chance fall to him but he sent the attempt wide. The wait for his 100th...you know the rest.
Óliver Torres, LM: 5
Came on for Carrasco in the 68th minute. Displayed some neat passing ability and might be starting to carve out a late-game bench role as a creative outlet.
Ángel Correa, FW: 5
Entered the proceedings in place of Griezmann in the 82nd minute. The young Argentine only touched the ball five times but still completed a mazy run near the Valencia goal line with one of them.