By 90Min
September 09, 2017

Valencia and Atletico Madrid shared a point in a combative but relatively underwhelming meeting at the Mestalla on Saturday.

Neither side looked capable of breaking through the opposition defence, and goalkeepers Neto and Jan Oblak were hardly called into action. The draw did maintain the unbeaten start to the season for both sides, but there was to be no celebration for Atletico after Diego Simeone's long-awaited contract renewal.

In what was a close contest from the outset, it was Atletico's Angel Correa that came the closest in the early stages, a deflected shot testing the reflexes of Neto.

Chances, though, were sparse, and the openings that did come were quickly shut down by two sides with compact and disciplined defensive shape.

Both teams were in confident mood ahead of the game - Marcelino's Valencia off the back of an impressive draw at the Bernabeu and Atletico a 5-1 win against Las Palmas - but, perhaps not unexpectedly, this was a tight, tentative affair.

With half an hour played, Luciano Vietto found himself in a shooting position after a stray pass from Geoffrey Kondogbia, but blazed his left-footed effort over the bar.

The hosts, meanwhile, had been expertly restricted by Simeone's side, and that continued until the break, with the visitors looking the most likely to make a breakthrough.

There was a notable increase in tempo after half-time, as both sides looked to establish more of an attacking threat in a game that had lacked creativity.

Atletico continued to threaten on the counter without finding a penetrative final ball, while Valencia came close from a dangerous in-swinging free-kick after an end-to-end beginning to the second half.

Los Colchoneros appeared to be growing increasingly in control as the half progressed, but a true goalscoring opportunity, but for a near-miss from substitute Nicolas Gaitan, proved elusive against the equally resolute home side.

It was disjointed but industrious on both sides of the pitch, a contest of commendable effort and organisation but no guile or flair. And even in the latter stages there was a lack of urgency, an apparent acceptance that a shared point from a scoreless draw was inevitable.

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