VALENCIA have been thumped in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Atalanta.
Atalanta’s fairytale debut Champions League season looks set to continue after they convincingly defeated the Spanish side, 4-1.
The Valencianos who topped their group, which included Chelsea, were struggling to find their feet as the Italians ran riot and were 4-0 up until the 66th minute.
The Nerazzurri have been playing their Champions League home games at the San Siro, 55 kilometres away from their own stadium in Bergamo, as the Gewiss Stadium does not meet UEFA’s requirements.
Their fans have had plenty to celebrate this season, successfully qualifying for the knockout stages, even though they had lost their first three group stage matches.
Valencia on the other hand were sluggish throughout the entire game and seemed to be caught off guard.
The game could well have been done and dusted with no hope of qualification for the Spanish side, if it were not for Jose Luis Palomino’s backpass, which was picked off by substitute Denis Cheryshev, who struck a low shot to reduce the deficit and give the Bats a slimmer of hope for the second leg in three weeks time.
Albert Celades’s side are currently seventh in La Liga and they must have seen the draw with the Italian side as a great opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since the 2006-07 season when they lost to Chelsea.