Antoine Griezmann scored twice on the afternoon of his 100th Atlético appearance to earn a deserved 3-0 win over Valencia on Sunday.
Kevin Gameiro was also on target in a dominant performance from Cholo’s men, who move back up to fourth place above Real Sociedad with the three points.
Before the match, fans unfurled a banner in support of Fernando Torres after his horrific head injury in Thursday’s draw with Deportivo. El Niño was in attendance and his name sung on various occasions throughout the match.
The opening goal within the first ten minutes when Griezmann latched onto Koke’s through pass, finishing confidently to put the home side ahead.
Atleti had started strongly and looked dangerous every time they came forward, with Griezmann, Gameiro and Carrasco all heavily involved on the counter.
Griezmann came close again from long range, and up at the other end Simone Zaza had the visitors’ only real chance of the match when he headed a free-kick wide.
Shortly after the break, Kevin Gameiro scored the second for the red and whites with a shot that beat Diego Alves in the Valencia goal via the aid of a deflection.
It was a goal that the Frenchman deserved for his hard work and endeavour up front, and he was shown appreciation by the fans with a standing ovation after being subbed in the second half.
Compatriot Antoine Griezmann spurned a golden chance to find his second and Atleti’s third when Alves denied him brilliantly with a one-on-one save, but with less than ten minutes on the clock he made no mistake.
This time, the ball broke kindly for the 25 year-old after substitute Nico Gaitán’s pass was helped on by Thomas, and in nipped Griezmann to finish with his right foot for goal number twenty of the season.
It wasn’t a result that flattered Atleti, who were in control from start to finish and fully deserved the win. The rojiblancos still have an uphill task if they are to break back into the top 3, but will be encouraged by today’s performance.
Next up is a trip to face Granada next Saturday evening, before the Champions return leg against Bayer Leverkusen the following Wednesday.