With a fantastic performance in the first half, Atlético already seem to have sealed their passage to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
At the Vicente Calderón we beat Besiktas 3-1 with two goals by Salvio and another from Adrián.
Diego Simeone had to do without seven absentees and lined up without any surprises in the XI, or it must have been the presence of veteran Luis Perea in the starting line-up.
Just three minutes into the match Atleti created their first big opportunity. Adrián skipped past his defender and found Falcao inside the box, but the striker struggled with the wobbly pass and placed the ball just past the wrong side of the post.
At the other end former Valencia midfielder Manuel Fernandes almost surprised Thibaut Courtois with a swirling shot.
Midway through the first half Atleti missed another incredible opportunity. After a free kick by Besiktas, we broke forward quickly with Adrián providing Koke on the right wing. The canterano played a first time pass across goal where Salvio was waiting to tap it in, but the Argentine missed hopelessly and put the ball behind for a goal kick.
Some minutes later Falcao was put through, but our top-scorer was unable to beat goalkeeper Gönen in a direct duel.
It was inevitable that Atlético would score and in the 25th minute Eduardo Salvio opened the scoring. The winger controlled a long pass by Koke and beat his defender, before putting it past Gönen.
And Atleti didn’t stop there. Just moments after the night’s second kick off, the goalkeeper again was forced to a save after Filipe nutmegged his opponent and aimed for the far corner.
The Rojiblancos did strike succesfully a second time just four minutes after the opening goal. Again Koke found Salvio with a brilliant pass and Toto finished off the move with a Messi-esque chip over the ‘keeper.
Atleti continued to run riot in the Besiktas defence and added a third goal before half time. Adrián was gifted the ball by a Turkish player and crossed half the pitch, before coming to a stop. Just as the Asturian seemed to have gone up a dead end, he turned to beat his marker and slammed the ball against the crossbar and into the back of the net.
In the second half Atleti took their foot of the gas and even allowed Besiktas back into the game. After we failed to clear a corner, the ball fell to Simão who curled it perfectly into the top corner and far out of Courtois’ reach.
As he promised, Simão didn’t celebrate his goal but his effort was welcomed with a warm feeling of nostalgia by the Vicente Calderón crowd.
The home side seemed to have completely shut down and almost conceded a second goal, but Pektemek put it wide.
Even Diego Simeone seemed to take the result for granted, as he took off Adrián after just an hour of play.
Atlético strolled towards the end of the match without really pushing for more, although Koke did come close to restoring our three goal cushion.
Five minutes before the end Simeone brought on one of three Atlético B players that were on the bench tonight. 17-year-old Sául Ñíguez replaced Koke and made his official debut in the first team.
Shortly before the end, Courtois prevented us from conceding a second goal when the entire team already seemed to have their mind set on our next match against Granada on Sunday.
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Perea, Godín, Filipe; Salvio (“82 Domínguez), Gabi, Mario, Koke (“85 Saúl Ñíguez); Adrián (“62 Pizzi) and Falcao.
Goals: 1-0 Salvio (“25); 2-0 Salvio (“28); 3-0 Adrián (“37); 3-1 Simão (“53)