Simeone praise for spot-kick hero Alves


Diego Simeone was effusive in his praise of Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves, who saved two penalties against his Atletico Madrid side in Sunday's LaLiga contest.

Alves last week broke the record for the most saved spot-kicks in LaLiga history and his tally now stands at 19 after he kept out efforts from Antoine Griezmann and Gabi in each half at Mestalla.

Ultimately, the goalkeeper's spot-kick heroics proved in vain as Griezmann made amends for his missed penalty to put Atleti ahead with his 50th LaLiga goal for the club before Kevin Gameiro wrapped up the 2-0 win in stoppage time.

But Atleti head coach Simeone made a point of sounding out Alves for recognition after the match.

"I think the first penalty stop [from Griezmann] was wonderful by the goalkeeper," he said in quotes reported by Marca.

"I congratulate the goalkeeper because if Valencia would have achieved the draw it would have been 90 per cent down to him."

The victory was Atleti's third in the space of eight days with the capital club having followed up a 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna by beating Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich by the same scoreline in the Champions League.

"I gathered the players and told them that our strength is [playing] as a group," he added. "If the players take the place of men the answers are what you see.

"Except for the first few minutes I think we always dominated the game."

Valencia's new coach Cesare Prandelli took a watching brief from the Mestalla stands for the game and Simeone had a friendly welcome for his new LaLiga rival.

"I talked to him once in Turkey. I've seen him as a coach and his ideas are good," he said. "I wish the best to Prandelli and Valencia."