Valencia vs. Atalanta score: Josip Ilicic makes Champions League history with four goals as Atalanta advances

On a night where Valencia was forced to play the home leg of its round of 16 match against Atalanta without its loyal supporters due to concerns from the coronavirus, the Spanish side was still able to put together a strong showing from its offense with three goals. There were just two problems with the performance: Valencia entered the second leg down 4-1 on aggregate, and Atalanta's fiery offense did not fizzle out between the two legs. The Italian side would go on to score four goals of their own, all coming from Josip Ilicic, to secure a 4-3 win in Spain.

The first half should have solidified the win for the Serie A squad. Two avoidable penalties from Mouctar Diakhaby gave Atalanta's Ilicic two chances to score from the spot, and he converted them both. Only a goal from Kevin Gameiro stopped some amount of the bleeding, but Valencia still found themselves behind 2-1 at the half.

Whatever Albert Celades's speech at halftime was, it seemed to work in re-energizing the Spanish side, at least for a little bit. Gameiro and Ferran Torres each get two quick goals to cut the scoring the mountain their team needed to climb down to size. For a brief moment, it was fair to wonder if the pressure had started to cloud Atalanta's ability to hit back. But that was quickly put to rest as Ilicic got his hat-trick just three minutes after Valencia's third goal of the match. 

Eleven minutes later, it was Ilicic once again adding an unnecessary nail to Valencia's coffin, with his fourth goal.

Ilicic became the first player in Champions League history to score four goals in an away tie of a knockout stage match. He also surpassed Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the oldest player to score four goals in a Champions League match. 

Valencia 3, Atalanta 4 (Atalanta advances 8-4 on aggregate)

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FINAL: Atalanta 4, Valencia 3 (8-4 agg.)

The Italian side moves on to the quarterfinals, leaving their opponents behind in the dust.

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82' GOAL Atalanta! 4-3 (8-4 agg.)

Freuler and Zapata display a fantastic build-up, eventually getting the ball to Ilicic, who launches it into the top left corner. That's his fourth goal of the day

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74' Valencia substitution

Denis Cheryshev replaces Coquelin

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71' GOAL Atalanta! 3-3 (7-4 agg.)

Well if it wasn't over before, it certainly is now. Ilicic secures his hat trick through the porous defense of Valencia, who have sent everyone forward in the hopes of the improbably comeback.

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68' GOAL Valencia! 3-2 (4-6 agg.)

Ferrán Torres charges on while Sportiello rushes to his spot where all he has to do is lift the ball over the poorly positioned goalkeeper and into the empty net. Has this become interesting? Only three more goals needed for the unlikely comeback.

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60' Atalanta get in their own way

Ilicic fires a shot from inside the box, but it hits Pasalic, his teammate, as the ball was on target. After the friendly fire deflection, the ball rolled away from danger.

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59' Yellow card Valencia

Kondogbia brings down Ilicic and gets booked

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Forgotten halftime substitution

Gonçalo Guedes came in for likely Valencia scapegoat Mouctar Diakhaby before the second half began

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51' GOAL Valencia! 2-2 (3-6 agg.)

Parejo makes the pass to Ferrán Torres on the right. The cross is whipped in and Gameiro powers in the ball with his head. Just four more goals for the improbable comeback.

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50' Near chance for Atalanta

Freuler hits the bar after cutting through on a very passive Valencia defense. The shot just goes over the head Valencia's keeper, but it was starting to dip in a threatening way.

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We're off in the second half

Valencia starts with the ball

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HALF: Valencia 1, Atalanta 2 (2-6 agg.)

All that's left for the Spanish side to do is finish the final 45 minutes of this game with some prideful soccer, as their chance of making to the next round are slim to none.

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45'+4 Missed free kick

An Atalanta free-kick hits Valencia's wall, with the second getting move to safety. The ref blows time on the first half.

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43' GOAL Atalanta! 2-1 (6-2)

Ilicic scores in the bottom right corner for his penalty. The Spanish side now need five unlikely goals to pull out a near-impossible victory.

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42' Penalty Atalanta!

The yellow card is given to Diakhaby as VAR determines the handball in the box was correct. The referee points to the spot to add to Valencia's misery, the second penalty Diakhaby has given away.

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41' Atalanta handball appeal

VAR checks for a potential handball in Valencia's penalty area. Ilicic sprinted towards the referee at full speed immediately after it looked like Diakhaby hand made contact.

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37' Brief stoppage for "injury"

De Roon goes down after he takes minor contact from Rodrigo's hand on his face. Staff come on to check on the Atalanta player.

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32' Yellow card Valencia

Francis Coquelin gets a yellow card for a high leg hitting the head of an Atalanta player while trying to clear the ball.

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24' Atalanta chance!

Gosens sprints down the left and sends in an excellent cross to Hateboer, who is unable to reach it in the middle of the box.

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21' GOAL Valencia! 1-1 (2-5 agg.)

Gameiro makes it past his defender, Palomino, after he tried to to intercept the ball. The Frenchman fires his shot past Sportiello, who seemed to have no chance at getting it.

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17' Valencia supporters making themselves heard

There is a lot of noise of singing supporters echoing into the stadium. The broadcast seems to believe that it's from Valencia fans who are outside of the stadium making the sounds.

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3' GOAL Atalanta! (1-0)

Ilicic slots it home from the spot after a quick VAR check. Atalanta lead, 5-1, on aggregate.

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2' Penalty for Atalanta!

Ilicic runs from the right into the area and gets clipped by Mouctar Diakhaby on the cut back. Atalanta can secure things with a goal here.

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They're off

And to a crowdless stadium, the game begins

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Storylines

Valencia: Valencia faces a tall task that could be within grasp if the team had a healthy roster, especially on defense. There have been many memorable comebacks at Mestalla over the years, with the team just last year needing three goals to get past Getafe in the Copa del Rey, with two of them coming in added time en route to winning the trophy. But with no Ezequiel Garay (knee) and Maxi Gomez (knee), and with Goncalo Guedes not quite back to form, it's tough to see a way through.

Atalanta: The upstart Italian side goes into this game knowing just one goal would force Valencia to score four, while two goals puts this tie away. The good news is for the visitors that they have scored in the last 18 games and just put seven past Lecce. They are well rested, in sync and look like a good bet to move on as long as the attack is clicking even at just an average level. Duvan Zapata had a hat trick in that match against Lecce and could get the start up top.

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