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Atletico through on away goals
Atletico Madrid progressed to the semi-finals of the Europa League after edging past Spanish rivals Valencia on away goals following a tense stalemate in the second leg at the Vicente Calderon.

There was little of the excitement of the first leg which finished in a 2-2 draw, but those away goals at the Mestalla proved crucial for Atletico, who will now face former favourite Fernando Torres and his Liverpool side.

The first half tonight was an evenly-fought battle during which neither goalkeeper had much to do.

Atletico went close with efforts from Sergio Aguero and Antonio Lopez while visiting custodian Cesar Sanchez needed to tip over a looping Diego Forlan shot that threatened to dip under the crossbar.

For injury-hit Valencia, who started with five forwards on the pitch and two midfielders at centre-back, David Villa fired their best opening into the side-netting.

The first real chance of the match came two minutes after half-time, and it really should have seen Forlan putting Atletico ahead.

The Uruguayan was sent clean through from the halfway line but he opted to try and scoop the ball over Cesar and his lob ended dropping just wide of the post.

Atletico were looking the more threatening after the break and Raul Garcia brought a parry out of Cesar from 25 yards before Tomas Ujfalusi was denied when one-on-one with the veteran goalkeeper.

With 20 minutes to go Valencia coach Unai Emery opted to send on giant striker Nikola Zigic and winger Vicente Rodriguez in a double substitution.

However, it was Atletico who were still making the running and Forlan came within inches of breaking the deadlock in the 75th minute when his effort was tipped onto the post by Cesar.

Five minutes later Villa also hit the woodwork as Valencia finally broke through the Atletico defence.

Pablo Hernandez's superb through-ball was latched onto by Villa but he blazed against the crossbar with only David De Gea to beat.

With their European dreams fading, Valencia piled forward in the closing stages and Zigic and David Navarro both brought fingertip saves out of De Gea with headers.

Valencia were left fuming when they failed to win a late penalty decision against Zigic while Vicente fired over from 14 yards, but it was not enough for the visitors.
 
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