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Simeone wins first game with Atletico Madrid
New Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone celebrates his first win in front of home fans against Villarreal in La Liga.
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2012 23:05
Falcao helped to make Simeone's first home game in charge a happy occasion scoring twice [EPA]

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone won on his home debut on Sunday as his new team beat Villarreal 3-0 in the Spanish league thanks to Radamel Falcao's brace.

Falcao broke through for a dominant Atletico in the 40th minute at Vicente Calderon stadium by scoring from a pass by Adrian Lopez inside the six-yard box.

The Colombia striker scored his 11th league goal from the penalty spot in the 51st after Adrian played him through only for Gonzalo Rodriguez to foul him in the area.

"I received a great welcome (from the fans), this is a very special moment both personally and professionally"

Diego Simeone

Diego capped the win in the 80th, tapping in a cross from left back Filipe Luis.

"I received a great welcome (from the fans), this is a very special moment both personally and professionally,'' said Simeone, a former Argentina midfielder who played for Atletico.

"We have to go forward slowly. We are still getting to know each other, (but) the players are open to everything we are asking of them.''

Villarreal, who managed just two shots to Atletico's 20, remained in the relegation zone and are winless in their last 11 matches. The players have had two games under new coach Jose Molina.

"We have to improve in all facets,'' said Molina, who played with Simeone for Atletico during the 1995-96 season when they won the league and Copa del Rey titles. The two former teammates were applauded by the fans before the match.

Barcelona let slip a two-goal lead before struggling to beat 10-man Real Betis 4-2.

Pep Guardiola's team appeared set to cruise to another home victory after Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi put the hosts ahead 2-0 after just 12 minutes.

But Ruben Castro scored the first goal by a visitor at Camp Nou stadium in the league this season, and Roque Santa Cruz made it 2-2 in the 52nd.

Barcelona weren't able to regain control until Mario Alvarez left Betis a man down with his second booking in the 79th.

Alexis Sanchez then scored the winning goal before Messi added a late penalty.

Barcelona are now five points behind leaders Real Madrid with Valencia trailing in third.

Racing away

Elsewhere, Fernando Llorente scored his first goal since returning from injury in Athletic Bilbao's 3-0 home win over Levante, and Racing Santander beat Osasuna 2-0 from a pair of spot kicks by striker Christian Stuani.

Levante showed scoring intent through forward Jose Barkero, but Bilbao center back Fernando Amorebieta's header in the 11th put the hosts in front.

Llorente nodded in Oscar de Marcos' cross at the far post in the 38th for the Spain striker's first goal in three appearances after missing seven games because of pain in his left knee.

    Racing Santander's Christian Stuani scored two penalties to continue team's great run [EPA] 

Mikel San Jose made it 3-0 late on after Levante's Juanfran Garcia had been sent off for a second booking.

The win lifts Marcelo Bielsa' team into fifth place, four points behind fourth-place Levante.

In Pamplona, Racing's turnaround since the exit of coach Hector Cuper continued with their fifth straight game without a defeat.

Stuani converted penalties in the 38th and 71st after defender Damia Abella was penalised for handball and then for fouling Lautaro Acosta in the area. It was Osasuna's first home loss of the season.

At El Molinon stadium, Oscar Trejo's stoppage-time blast from outside the area snatched a 2-1 win for Sporting Gijon over Malaga.

Madrid came from behind to beat Mallorca 2-1 on Saturday, and third-place Valencia fell 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad.

Source:
Agencies
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