Antoine Griezmann scored the winner just a couple of minutes after coming off the bench as Atletico Madrid beat Valencia 1-0 in a feisty LaLiga clash on Monday.
Griezmann and Thomas Lemar were brought on midway through the second half by Diego Simeone at the Mestalla and they combined to secure all three points.
Griezmann took a pass from Lemar before opening the scoring with a deflected shot to make it two wins out of three for Atleti.
With new signing Edinson Cavani watching on, Valencia had a goal from Yunus Musah disallowed in the first half following a VAR check as they slumped to back-to-back defeats.
Alvaro Morata came close with an early effort from close range, but Valencia started to look the more threatening and it appeared they had taken the lead 25 minutes in.
Musah beat Jan Oblak with a rasping long-range drive, but referee Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez ruled the goal out following a check on the pitchside monitor for a foul by Mouctar Diakhaby on Joao Felix.
Coaches Simeone and Gennaro Gattuso were booked as tempers flared on the touchline, before Joao Felix was denied by Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.
Fernandez was centre stage again when he sent Thierry Correia off for a professional foul on Morata, but changed his decision and instead dished out a yellow card to the defender.
Mamardashvili used his left foot to keep out Morata’s finish when the striker was sent clear right at the end of a frantic first half.
Neither side looked particularly threatening in the second half until Lemar and Griezmann made an instant impact off the bench, the midfielder winning possession and setting up the France forward, whose left-foot shot from outside the area deflected in off Carlos Soler.
Mamardashvili produced an excellent save to thwart Yannick Carrasco after Matheus Cunha had a goal ruled out for offside and Valencia’s impressive keeper prevented Griezmann from claiming a double.
Cunha’s effort struck the crossbar via a strong hand from Mamardashvili, but Griezmann’s goal proved to be enough.
What does it mean? Satisfaction for Simeone as changes do the trick
Simeone needed a spark from the bench to break the deadlock and he got two, as Lemar and Griezmann made their mark.
Having lost 2-0 to Villarreal last time out, this was not a vintage performance from Atleti but they did enough to make it 16 games without defeat against Valencia.
Valencia will be looking to Uruguay striker Cavani to give them a cutting edge following two 1-0 defeats.
Griezmann pushing for a start
There has been talk that Atleti could lose Griezmann before the transfer window closes, but he has scored twice as a substitute in three appearances at the start of the season.
The on-loan Barcelona man ought to have had a second goal, but made the impact Simeone desired.
It has been an excellent start to the season for Morata and he was lively once again, but he should have scored – having five attempts and only hitting the target twice.
Valencia are at home to Getafe on Sunday, with Atleti travelling to Real Sociedad on Saturday.