Atlético Madrid have qualified for the quarter finals of the Europa League after the team cruised to a 3-0 victory. Over two legs we beat Besiktas 6-1 on aggregate.
On Friday we’ll be one of the eight remaining teams at the draw in Nyon, where we’ll find out who we face next on our European crusade.
Possible opponents are Athletic, AZ Alkmaar, Hannover ’96, Schalke 04, Metalist Kharkiv, Sporting Portugal and Valencia.
There were two changes to the Atlético team that beat Besiktas 3-1 at the Vicente Calderón, with Miranda coming in for Luis Perea. The other novelty in the starting line-up was local boy Arda Turan, who returned from injury.
Former rojiblanco Simão, who scored in the first leg, again featured for the home side. Curiously, of all 22 starting players on Thursday night, he was the only one that was part of Atleti’s memorable Europa League triumph less than two years ago.
Besiktas started the game with the best of intentions, but weren’t able to make a fist. BJK came into the match having picked up just a single point in their last six games and missed the confidence to really put Atleti under pressure.
Midway through the first half Atlético took the lead when Arda Turan controlled a cross from Juanfran. The Turk’s first touch seemed off, but he remained calm and provided Adrián with an easy chance which the Asturian duly converted.
It was Adrián’s 8th goal in the Europa League this season and with that number he now holds a club record of most goals in European competition in a single season.
Through large stretches of the match Atlético comfortably played the ball around in midfield, as the Spaniards seemed satisfied with the score while Besiktas were down after taking yet another punch.
Atlético strolled towards the end of the game and went forward whenever Besiktas left some space. After an hour Adrián almost scored a second, but he couldn’t direct Filipe’s cross towards goal.
A little later Koke poorly executed a fast break when Falcao seemed to be in a better position to shoot.
More than the home side, Atleti seemed out to get another goal. After Adrián had already been close, it was Falcao who was allowed to score one of the easiest goals in his career. A cross by substitute Salvio was deflected high into the air and seemed to be a catch for Gönen, but the goalkeeper didn’t lift off and was challenged on his goalline by Falcao. The Colombian towered over the shotstopper and headed in his 22nd of the season.
Adrián then had another two opportunities, but missed the target on the first and played a poor pass as he tried to assist Falcao on the other occasion.
In the added time of the game Eduardo Salvio added a third. The Argentine was launched from midfield and slotted the ball past Gönen for his fourth goal in four matches and his 3rd against Besiktas.
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Koke (“73 Salvio), Gabi (“84 Domínguez), Mario, Arda (“68 Assunção); Adrián and Falcao.
Goals: 0-1 Adrián (“26); 0-2 Falcao (“84); 3-0 Salvio (“94)