It only took Atleti two minutes to score tonight, and after that the return leg of our Europa League clash became a walk in the park.
The Rojiblancos put four goals past Vitória Guimarães and advance to the group phase of the UEFA tournament.
The two teams had only just kicked off when Tiago played an excellent through ball to Salvio, who was brought down by goalkeeper Nilson.
Gabi coolly converted the penalty kick and set the home side up for a virtually impossible challenge.
At that point they would have had to score four goals after last week’s 2-0 defeat in Madrid.
Vitória never really played a part in tonight’s game, despite a chance early on for João Alves. His shot harmlessly went off target.
In the 18th minute Atlético put an end to any hopes the Portuguese club had left, when Adrián went around Nilson and placed the ball into the empty net.
The assist came from ‘Toto’ Salvio, one of tonight’s most active players and a constant menace to Guimarães’ defence.
Some minutes later Atleti almost made it three from a quick counterattack, but Gabi hit the post.
And shortly after, Salvio missed the chance to increase our lead, when he failed to beat Nilson in a one-on-one situation.
Manzano surprisingly started Thibaut Courtois over Joel tonight, but the Belgian international had little to do. The only time he was called upon came shortly before the break, when he elegantly dove and held on to a curled shot from distance.
During the added time there were two chances for Mario Suárez, but both his attempts went just wide of the post.
After the break the first chance was for Adrián, but he headed Filipe’s cross straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Some minutes later the striker was part of a beautifully worked attack which only lacked an end product. Adrián and Elias set up Salvio, but instead of shooting himself the Argentine tried to pull it back to the Brazilian, who received the pass just behind him.
After exactly an hour of play, Adrián completed his brace and lifted the score to 3-0.
Sílvio delivered a precise cross to Reyes who headed it in and Adrián was there first to volley the ball into the back of the net.
After the third goal Vitória really gave up and more chances were created for Adrián, Elias and Koke, who all came close to making it four.
There was one big chance for the Portuguese outfit in the second half, but Courtois reacted quickly and held onto his clean sheet.
The final moment of glory was for the man who started it all tonight. Sílvio swung in another cross from the right and Salvio was at the end of it to beat Nilson for the fourth time.
Tonight’s comfortable victory is a good warm-up for our boys ahead of this weekend’s first La Liga clash against Osasuna.
The draw for the next round of the Europa League, with Radamel Falcao present, will be held tomorrow in Nyon.
Line-up: Courtois; Sílvio, Perea, Miranda, Filipe; Tiago (“46 Elias), Mario (“67 Koke), Gabi; Reyes, Adrián (“72 Juanfran) and Salvio.
Goals: 0-1 Gabi (“2); 0-2 Adrián (“18); 0-3 Adrián (“60); 0-4 Salvio (“81)