Vitolo left the bench and headed home the 81st-minute winner for Atlético in a 1-0 at a home win to Valladolid on Saturday.

It was a crucial win, over Real Valladolid

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone welcomed the late victory of his team over Real Valladolid. As they increased their chances of finishing in the first four of LaLiga standings. Vitolo left the bench and headed home the 81st-minute winner for Atlético in a 1-0 at a home win to Valladolid on Saturday. Atletico moved back to third place in the standings. Level on points with Sevilla after 30 games and four clear from Getafe. In the race for the qualification of the Champions League. “It’s always important to take something from the game and even better when you win,” Simeone said. “There were things to improve, but we had three months without proper preparation, and then you play every three days. It was a crucial victory.”

Valladolid was very organized in the second half

“We had possibilities in the first half and could not score, then in the second half, and it was tough against a very organized side. We could win or lose, but we achieved an excellent result.” Atletico was playing behind closed doors at the Wanda Metropolitano because of the coronavirus pandemic. Simeone added: “Fans were not there in the flesh, but they were there in spirit. A moment of silence before the match and music in an empty stadium were pure emotions. We have lost a lot of people. The chance clutch was undermined by the time Vitolo left the bench to replace Marcos Llorente with the remaining 17 minutes, with Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata came close. When the break came in the 81st minute was dramatic, Vitolo heading for the gate after a corner on the left got to him at the far post.

Valladolid defender Kiko Olivas felt that he nodded off the line after diving spectacularly to reach the ball. Still, replays showed that he was six centimeters over, and Atletico moved back to third place. Vitolo, whose Atletico side have eliminated titleholders Liverpool on their way to the quarterfinals of the Champions League this season, said: “The club’s goal is to qualify for the Champions League next season. Many teams are trying, and this will be decided in recent matches. I hope we’ll be able to come in and give the fans joy.”