Colombian superstar Radamel Falcao scored twice for Atletico Madrid in a 4-2 Europa League semi-final first leg win against Spanish rivals Valencia Thursday.
Falcao, a $57.3 million summer signing from Portuguese club Porto, headed in after 18 minutes to give his side the lead in the Estadio Vincente Calderon.
Valencia clawed it back 3 minutes in to first half injury time, but Atletico dominated their opponents and took the lead again within four minutes of the restart.
By the time Falcao crashed an 18-yard shot in off the crossbar, Atletico were 3-1 up, leaving just 12 minutes of normal time to defend a three-goal lead.
But deep in to injury time Valencia gave themselves a glimmer of hope, with Ricardo Costa scoring a second away goal to bring the final score to 4-2 and a convincing win for the Madrid team.
Falcao’s brace now leaves him joint top scorer in the Europa league with 10 goals. The Colombian has now surpassed Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as the top scorer in European competitions over the last two seasons, with 28 in total, a tournament record.
In the other half of the Europa League semi-finals, Sporting Lisbon came from a goal down to win 2-1 at home to Athletic Club Bilbao.
The Europa League semi-final second leg takes place next Thursday.