Champions League: Atlético 4 – 0 Astana
Atleti back to winning ways in Europe after big home win
Atlético Madrid got their Champions League campaign back on track on Wednesday evening as they punished a weak Astana side 4-0 at the Vicente Calderón.
The visitors from Kazakhstan decided to only bring 15 players with them to Madrid, giving them only four substitutes, as they made eight changes to the side that played in the league at the weekend.
Atleti on the other hand, decided to rotate their squad and give starts to Stefan Savic and Yannick Carrasco. The latter had a fantastic game.
Astana only managed to keep Atleti at bay for 23 minutes. It was Saúl with the first goal, and he only seems to score absolute beauties.
A Gabi corner was played short to Carrasco, who beat his man before drilling a low cross in to the box. A backheel flick from Saúl’s steered the ball into the back of the Astana net.
It was Jackson who thought he had scored a couple of minutes later, but it was ruled out for offside after taking a touch from an interfering Griezmann on the way.
It wasn’t long before Atleti had their second though, and it was that man Jackson Martínez who finally broke his scoring drought.
There was visible relief from all of the players when the ball trickled into the net after a deflection off of the Astana defender. Jackson won’t care how the goal came. Nobody needed the goal more than Atleti’s number 11 – his second in the red and white.
Jackson almost had his second of the night five minutes before half time, but a diving header from Jackson was saved instinctively by the Astana goalkeeper.
Atlético battered Astana in the first half, with 16 attempts falling their way in the opening 45.
The second half brought more of a threat from Astana, but not enough to worry Diego Simeone’s men.
Atleti changed things at half time by replacing Tiago with Óliver Torres. The 20-year-old midfielder had plenty of Champions League experience with Porto last season in their run to the quarter-finals.
However, it was only tonight that Óli picked up his first Champions League goal. After a surging run forward from Gabi, our captain laid the ball off to a waiting Óliver who gently chipped the ball over the goalkeeper into the back of the net. 3-0.
It wasn’t all smiles for Atleti. Kéthévoama had a chance to get a consolation goal for Astana but the otherwise-spectating Jan Oblak pulled off a spectular save from point-blank range to put the ball out for a corner.
Simeone made the expected change midway through the second half, with Fernando Torres replacing Jackson Martínez.
Torres had the opportunity to grab his 100th career goal for Atlético, but a good save from Eric denied El Niño his century.
The fourth goal of the evening did come late on, and it was no surprise that it went to the home side, although an Astana player did score it.
Correa played a one two with Fernando Torres before the Argentine played in Juanfran. The Spaniard crossed it and Torres was ready to tap it in, but Dedechko failed to make the most of his clearance and put the ball into the back of his own net.
Heartbreak for Torres, but his hundredth goal will come!
The game drew to a close with little to worry Atlético all evening.
Atleti return to the top of Group C with the win on goal difference. The next round of Champions League action sees Atleti make the long trip to Kazakhstan.
|UEFA Champions League|
|21 October 2015|