Atletico Madrid continued their unbeaten run in the league on Sunday, brushing aside Sevilla 5-2 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to close the gap on leaders Barcelona to 7 points.
Vincenzo Montella chose to field the same starting eleven that drew 0-0 with Manchester United on Wednesday’s Champions League First Knockout Round, with Luis Muriel the sole striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Diego Simeone made six changes to the side that progressed into the Round of 16 stage of the Europa League on Thursday, with Vrsaljko, Felipe Luis, Saul, Thomas, Griezmann and Diego Costa all coming in to the side following the 5-1 aggregate win against FC Copenhagen.
Both sides could have opened the scoring in the early stages of the match, with Koke, Luis Muriel and Joaquin Correa all having chances in the first five minutes.
Atleti opened the scoring in the 29th minute. Ever Banega attempted to play a pass back to Sergio Rico, however his light weighted pass was collected by Diego Costa who smashed the ball past the keeper.
Antoine Griezmann scored his first for the evening in the 42nd minute, picking up a headed clearance from the outside box and brushing aside three opponents before slotting it to the far post to double the away side’s lead.
As usual, the second half seemed to be all Atletico and Griezmann doubled his account from the penalty spot in the 51st minute following a foul by Sergio Rico on Diego Costa.
Another defensive mishap helped Los Colchoneros grab their fourth goal of the evening, when a slack Mercado back pass was collected by Griezmann, who provided Koke with a backheeled assist and effectively put the game to bed.
Griezmann was not finished scoring however, and completed his hat trick in the 81st minute after great play in to the box by Saul, with the Frenchman finding himself unmarked in the middle of the box to make it 5-0 to the visitors.
Sevilla did stage a late comeback with two goals from Sarabia and Nolito and were also denied a penalty in the last minute, but the damage was already done and the game ended 5-2.
Sevilla sit in sixth place of the La Liga table with 39 points and will be hoping to put in a better performance in the midweek match away to struggling Malaga.
Atletico still sit comfortably in second place and welcome Leganes to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Navas (Layun, 18), Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero; Banega, N’Zonzi; Sarabia, Vazquez (Nolito, 70), Correa (Ben Yedder, 60); Muriel
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Giminez, Godin, Felipe Luis; Saul, Thomas (Correa, 64), Gabi, Koke (Vitolo, 71); Griezmann, Diego Costa (Gameiro, 76)