ATLÉTICO 5-1 BETIS
Atleti send a message to Barça
A double from Antoine Griezmann and goals from Fernando Torres, Juanfran and Thomas Partey saw Atlético warm up for Tuesday's Champions League clash in style.
Atlético Madrid warmed up for their upcoming Champions League clash with Barcelona in fine style on Saturday afternoon, producing a ruthless LaLiga display to dispatch Real Betis 5-1 at the Vicente Calderón.
The victory moved the second-placed Rojiblancos back to within six points of league leaders Barça, who lost to Real Madrid in El Clásico later on in the day.
The rout was begun by Fernando Torres, the in-form striker setting Atleti on their way from Koke's wonderful pass - and lending further credence to those calling for his second spell at the club to be extended beyond the summer.
Torres' opener came in the 37th minute, and five after that Antoine Griezmann doubled the hosts' advantage - aided by a howler from Betis keeper Antonio Adán.
Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, Griezmann dinked a softly-hit ball towards the six-yard area, where Adán misjudged its flight and, in a gaffe that took place almost in slow motion, allowed it through his legs and into the net.
With the break yet to arrive, Atleti had put themselves in pole position for the points against a combative Betis side - an outfit that did carve out periods of good combination play, with forward Rubén Castro remaining a headache for Diego Simeone's defence, which featured 21-year-old debutant Nacho Monsalve.
Castro came close to halving Atlético's lead early in the second 45, but was thwarted by a smart stop from Jan Oblak in the home goal.
And Atlético continued to strengthen their stranglehold on the game, for a time only prevented from making it three by good work from a visiting custodian out to atone for his earlier error, particularly in denying Griezmann.
But with just over an hour on the clock, full-back Juanfran met Ángel Correa's far-post cross with an assured control and finish to make it three.
Despite Castro reducing the deficit a quarter of an hour later, there was no way back for Betis as added goals from Griezmann (with his 26th of the season) and substitute Thomas Partey completed a comprehensive Atlético triumph.
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