Madrid (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann teed up Diego Godin’s opener then struck a stunning free-kick as Atletico Madrid compounded a week for Sevilla to forget in a 3-1 win on Sunday.
Koke added Atletico’s third before Joaquin Correa registered a consolation for Sevilla.
Sevilla were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico’s quarter-final opponents Leicester City on Wednesday and have seen their lead over Atletico in third place in La Liga now whittled down to two points.
A third straight league win moves Diego Simeone’s men seven points clear of Real Sociedad and Villarreal in the battle for fourth.
And the Atletico fans also celebrated the return of Fernando Torres for the first time since he was knocked unconscious in a sickening head clash at Deportivo la Coruna on March 2.
Kevin Gameiro was handed a start ahead of Torres as the French international also returned from injury and was inches away from opening the scoring against his old club 13 minutes in.
Gameiro was played in by Yannick Carrasco’s fine through ball and his well-measured chip was turned onto the underside of the bar by Sergio Rico.
Key to Sevilla’s 3-2 aggregate defeat to Leicester was the fact they missed a penalty in both legs.
Despite their awful record from the spot this season, the visitors claimed in vain for a penalty when Wissam Ben Yedder fell to the floor as he tried to round Jan Oblak.
Yet, in another familiar failing from their defeat in England, Sevilla conceded the opener from a set-piece as Griezmann’s clipped free-kick found Godin unmarked to power a header past Rico eight minutes before half-time.
Atletico had a series of chances to make the game safe at the start of the second period.
Firstly, Griezmann fired into the side-netting after a brilliant team move tore the Sevilla defence apart.
Rico then rushed from his line to smother the ball as Gameiro bore down on goal.
However, Atletico finally doubled their advantage in spectacular style just after the hour mark as Griezmann crashed a free-kick in off the underside of the bar for his 22nd goal of the season.
The home fans then got the moment they wanted as Torres was handed a hero’s welcome as he replaced Gameiro.
It was Koke who added the third, though, as he gratefully tapped into an empty net after Rico had parried Juanfran’s driven cross.
Torres passed up two chances to mark his return with a goal as he firstly volleyed straight at Rico before the Spanish international blocked his attempted chip.
From the latter chance Sevilla broke down the other end to bag a consolation as Joaquin Correa slotted between Oblak’s legs from a narrow angle.
However, it was too little, too late in a terrible week for Sevilla.
And Koke should have compounded their misery when he too fired too close to Rico with just the keeper to beat a minute from time.
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