Atletico Madrid brought Sevilla’s unbeaten league start to a shattering halt with a comprehensive 4-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.
Diego Simeone was back on the touchline after completing his ban and saw Koke and Saul Niguez put his side 2-0 ahead, before late goals from substitutes Raul Garcia and Raul Jimenez wrapped up a very dominant performance.
Sevilla were on a five-game winning streak in all competitions, but Atletico really turned on the style with their biggest win of the season which lifted them above their opponents into second place – just two points behind leaders Barcelona.
The defending champions made four changes to the side that narrowly edged out Almeria on Wednesday. Saul partnered Mario Mandzukic up front as Garcia and Antoine Griezmann dropped to the bench, while captain Gabi and Patrick Ansaldi were back in the side ahead of Mario Suarez and Guilherme Siqueira.
There were three alterations for Sevilla from their single-goal victory over Real Sociedad in midweek, as Unai Emery brought Daniel Carrico, Vitolo and Aleix Vidal back into the side at the expense of Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Antonio Reyes and Ever Banega.
It was all set to be a cracking encounter at the Calderon between two of the sides still yet to taste defeat in the league. The stadium was rocking and boosted by the presence of Diego Simeone back in the dugout, it clearly rubbed off on the home side.
They got the breakthrough in the 19th minute as Saul’s cross was only half-cleared by Stephane Mbia, and Koke’s returning shot flew into the top corner after taking a huge deflection off Nico Pareja.
Mandzukic was whiskers away from directing home Ansaldi’s powerful strike across the face of goal before his strike partner doubled the lead three minutes before half-time.
Arda Turan nodded Gabi’s deep free kick back to Joao Miranda who volleyed the ball across the box where Saul arrived the far post to head back into the opposite corner.
The hosts’ superiority continued in the second half. Mandzukic headed just wide from Juanfran’s cross, while Turan’s powerful volley was well pushed away by Beto.
Substitute Griezmann couldn’t quite turn in Tiago Mendes’ powerful centre, but he was involved again eight minutes from time as he was brought down by Diogo Figueiras in the area. Fellow replacement Garcia stepped up and calmly sent Beto the wrong way.
Jiminez also made an impact from the bench as he headed home number four from Koke’s free kick in the dying moments, giving Atletico a convincing win that would have been hard to predict before play commenced.