Atalanta vs. Valencia CF score: Dream Champions League debut season continues for Italian side

Atalanta, playing in UCL for the first time, scored four goals in Wednesday's first leg

Atalanta flexed its goal-scoring muscle in Wednesday's Champions League rout. But for as much as the game in Italy was about Atalanta's offense, it was also about Valencia missing golden opportunities that could have made the 4-1 final much closer. Early on it was all Atalanta, as the team applied constant pressure to a decimated Valencia defense, which was missing their starting two center backs--Ezequiel Garay has been ruled out for the season with injury, and Gabriel Paulista was sidelined due to suspension.

Atalanta -- playing in its first Champions League season -- capitalized on this deficiency with two goals in the first half. The first came from Hans Hateboer, who finished off a beautiful cross.

Then Josip Ilicic who got in on the action. The left-footed man fired a shot with his right that had so much power on it that Valencia keeper Jaume Domenech couldn't stop it, even though he made contact with the ball.

The concerns for Valencia quickly grew into a full-fledged nightmare in the second half. Just 12 minutes into the final 45, Remo Freuler launched an absolute screamer from outside of the box. The shot curled past Domenech toward the far post and caused the Milan crowd to erupt in jubilation.

But after that score, Valencia quietly began to show its offensive talents and threatened Atalanta's defense little by little. The Spanish side exploited lackadaisical coverage for its own benefit, causing the hosts to sweat a bit. Before Valencia could get a score of its own, however, Atalanta put in a fourth.

Finally, Valencia broke through. Just moments after Denis Cheryshev was substituted into the game, he was able to pounce on a poor touch from an Atalanta defender and fired the away goal that his side desperately, desperately needed to have any semblance of life in this competition.

That was all the La Liga side could muster against the leading goal scorers of the Serie A. Despite the amount of chances Valecnia had, the team will have to return to Spain with just one away goal on its side. Atalanta, meanwhile, has shown the Champions League stage did not shake the team's confidence. The club has one foot in the quarterfinals after Wednesday.

Atalanta 4, Valencia 1 (Final)

⚽ Atalanta - Hans Hateboer (16', 62')
⚽ Atalanta - Josep Ilicic (42')
⚽ Atalanta - Remo Freuler (57')
⚽ Valencia - Denis Cheryshev (66')

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FINAL Atalanta 4, Valencia 1

A near-perfect start to what could turn out to be an incredible Cinderella story for the Italian side.

Four minutes of extra time

Valencia free kick

85' Atalanta continues to invite pressure onto their side of the pitch. Free kick on the righthand side of the box gets whipped into the middle but gets cleared away.

Valencia injury delay

82' Mouctar Diakhaby receives treatment because he got caught the head by Zapata's flailing arm. The player eventually gets up with blood in his mouth and needing support to walk.

Atalanta sub

81' Alejandro Gomez off for Ruslan Malinovskiy.

Atalanta yellow card

80' Hateboer lost the ball to Cheryshev, and pulled him back to get the night's first booking.

Atalanta substitution

75' Duvan Zapata replaces Mattia Caldara. Bringing in a forward for a defender up 4-1 is certainly a bold move.

Valencia shouts for a penalty

75' The Spanish side crowds the referee after claims of the ball hitting the arm of an Atalanta defender. A VAR check confirms that no penalty should be given.

Atalanta keeper down, Valencia sub

73' Gollini goes for a brave save on a dangerous cross and pays the price for it. He remains on ground to recover for a bit as Gameiro comes in for Gomez for Valencia.

Big Atalanta save!

70' Torres could not have whipped in a better cross to his teammates. The ball finds its way to Cheryshev, who fires a shot right at Gollini, but Maxi Gomez had the better opportunity to bring his side to two goals.

Goal Valencia! (4-1)

66' Life for the Spanish side! Cheryshev gets the away goal Valencia desperately, desperately needed to stay alive in this competition. The score came just moments after he come on for Guedes.

Goal Atalanta! (4-0)

63' Ilicic grabs the attention of two defenders just beyond midfield and a pass heading his way instead rolls through to Hateboer, who sprints ahead from the right flank and fires a low shot to get the fourth! VAR checked for interference from Ilicic--who was offside when the ball came in but didn't touch the ball--but the goal was given

An Atalanta save!

61' Gollini carelessly gives the ball away to Ferran Torres, who runs into the area and squares to an unmarked Maxi Gomez. But the keeper is able to redeem himself just moments afterwards with the resulting shot from just a few yards out going exactly where he thought it'd go. Nothing has gone right for the Spanish side this evening.

Goal Atalanta! (3-0)

57' Freuler fires an absolute howler from the outside of the box that bends right around the keeper into the far corner of the net. The defense seemed to prepare for Gomez to make a run so they backed off the Swiss international, giving him the space for the screamer.

Wasted chance from Atalanta

50' The Italian side nearly gets a third! Gomez, with a ton of space on the left, flicks a cross that bounces off the foot of a defender. Had he passed sooner, it might have led to another score.

Atalanta is back to threatening

47' Atalanta wins a corner, Ilicic whips in a dangerous cross, but the ball is cleared

And we're back

46' Welcome back to soccer. Neither side has made changes.

HALF Atalanta 2, Valencia 0

The Italian side leads through the first half of the first leg of their first-ever Champions League campaign.

One minute of stoppage time

Atalanta still wants to get one more before the end of the half.

Goal Atalanta! (2-0)

42' The left-footed Ilicic fires one from his right into far side of the net just past Domenech to double the lead for the Italian side.

Offside flag offsets brutal Atalanta miss

40' Bapu Gomez, who sprints clear into the penalty area, and just rockets his shot over the bar. That shot won't show up on the state sheet, however, as the offside flag went up much, much later.

Atalanta's threats have not disappeared

37' A tackle sends the ball rolling to De Roon. His half-volley sends the ball just over the bar.

So close for Valencia!

36' Guedes takes a cheeky lob from a teammate and fires a shot to the back post from a horrendously difficult angle. He could have found any number of teammates entering the box for an easy goal, but it instead rolls harmlessly out of bounds.

Atalanta threat

28' Another bad choice from Ilicic. He heads for the line instead of shooting or passing. When he pulls the ball back, the attack fizzles out.

Late offside flag

23' Valencia's first meaningful attack of the evening peters out in the penalty box, but it wouldn't have counted had it amounted to anything as the side judge ruled the player offside

Another Atalanta threat

21' Ilicic chooses to pass it off to Gosens instead of shoot. His shot hits the side netting. Goal kick.

Valencia free kick

19' Valencia gets a free-kick from the right side. Though Maxi Gomez wins the header, his shot hits a teammate and rolls away harmlessly

Goal Atalanta! (1-0)

16' Gomez gets another assist as his low cross takes a minor deflection, but still reaches his target of Hans Hateboer, who scores with ease. It's Hateboer's first goal of the season!

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