Source: China State Council Information Office
Atalanta qualified for the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals after a 4-3 win Tuesday at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium gave them an 8-4 aggregate win that Atalanta’s Slovenian international striker Josip Ilicic will never forget.
Ilicic scored four goals, making him the first player to ever score four times in a Champions League tie away from home.
The main disappointment was that such an entertaining match took place in front of empty stands due to precautions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus and although some Valencia fans outside of the ground made their voices heard at times, the voices of the players were most heard in the game.
Valencia’s task was made harder right at the start of the game after Mouchtar Diakhaby conceded a penalty which Ilicic tucked away in the first of the four goals he would score on the night.
Kevin Gameiro scored for Valencia in the 21st minute, but Diakhaby’s night got worse in the 41st minute when he was penalized for handball and Ilicic scored his side’s second of the night to leave Valencia needing to score five goals in the second half.
Gamerio scored one of those with a header in the 51st minute and Ferran Torres gave Valencia a glimmer of hope in the 66th minute after being given too much space between the Atalanta defenders.
However, Ilicic still had plenty to say in the game as he completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes remaining with a powerful shot following a counter-attack. He added a fourth with nine minutes left to play with a well-placed effort into the top-corner of the Valencia net.
Elsewhere in Spain, Real Sociedad moved up to fourth in the Liga Santander after a 2-1 win in Eibar in another game played in front of empty stands, with goals from Mikel Oyarzabal and Willian Jose giving the side from San Sebastian the win.