Falcao at the double
Atletico in pole position to progress
Last Updated: February 16, 2012 8:36pm
Falcao inspired Atletico Madrid to an impressive 3-1 win over Lazio in Rome in the first leg of their last 32 Europa League tie.
Miroslav Klose put the home side ahead in the 19th minute before Falcao set up Adrian Lopez for the equaliser before the half-hour mark.
The Colombian forward then put the visitors ahead in the 37th minute.
Falcao added his second after the hour mark to hand Atletico coach Diego Simeone, a former Lazio player, a winning debut in the Europa League.
The result at the Stadio Olimpico has left Lazio with the difficult task of turning the tie around and having to score at least three times in Madrid next week.
Atletico started strongly and Falcao wasted a good chance in the opening minute when his eight-yard shot went over the bar.
Miranda then got his head behind Diego's free-kick and his effort was saved by Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.
The Spaniards then conceded their first goal in seven games.
Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was unable to hold onto Antonio Candreva's hard drive from 30 yards and Klose got the tap-in.
Atletico's response did not take long in coming though and they equalised in the 25th minute.
Falcao nodded the ball down into the six-yard box and Lopez hooked it past Marchetti.
Atletico took a deserved lead before half-time when Diego got past his marker and crossed the ball to the far post for Falcao to strike past the helpless Marchetti.
Hernanes tried to bring the home side back level early in the second half with a neat 15-yard effort which was kept out by Courtois.
In the 55th minute, with Marchetti out of position, Koke struck a goalbound shot from 15 yards but Luciano Zauri made a vital clearance to deny Atletico's third of the evening.
On the hour mark, Klose headed Cristian Ledesma's free-kick just wide.
Lazio's hopes were dealt a blow in the 63rd minute when Falcao got behind Lopez's dangerous cross towards the far post and struck the ball past Marchetti.
The hosts pressed forward but were unable to get past Atletico's defence in the final 20 minutes.
Thu 16th Feb - Round of 32
Lokomotiv2 - 1Ath Bilbao
Ajax0 - 2Man Utd
Salzburg0 - 4Metalist
AZ Alkmaar1 - 0Anderlecht
Lazio1 - 3A Madrid
Plzen1 - 1Schalke
Leg Warsaw2 - 2Sporting
FC Porto1 - 2Man City
Stoke City0 - 1Valencia
S Bucuresti0 - 1Twente
Wisla Krakow1 - 1S Liege
Udinese0 - 0PAOK S'nika
Trabzonspor1 - 2PSV
Hannover2 - 1Club Brugge
Europa League Group A
Europa League Group B
Europa League Group C
|1||Red Bull Salzburg||5||15|
Europa League Group D
Europa League Group E
Europa League Group F
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||5||8|
Europa League Group G
Europa League Group H
Europa League Group I
|3||Vitoria de Guimaraes||5||5|
Europa League Group J
Europa League Group K
|3||Sheriff Tiraspol (Mol)||5||3|
Europa League Group L
|3||Maccabi Haifa (Isr)||5||2|