Fernando Torres scored his first goals since his return to Atletico Madrid as the former Chelsea striker found the net twice, ensuring his side secured an aggregate victory over rivals Real Madrid and moved into the last eight of the Copa del Rey.
Torres made his second Atletico debut a week ago in the first leg of this Madrid derby encounter, in which Diego Simeone’s side claimed a two-goal advantage, and was able to play a far more pivotal role on this occasion.
The match began with Los Blancos requiring at least two goals to revive their prospects of defending the cup they had won last season, but Torres made an unlikely task an improbable one in less than a minute.
Just 46 seconds had elapsed at the Santiago Bernabeu by the time Torres and stroked a left-footed shot into the top corner of Keylor Navas’ net following fine work from Antoine Griezmann. It was Torres’ first goal since September and left Madrid stunned.
Sergio Ramos restored parity on the night when he headed in from a corner, but the chances of Madrid progressing remained slim, with Atletico content to soak up the pressure at the home of their city counterparts.
The hopes of the Champions League winners were all but extinguished in the second period’s opening salvo as, once again, Griezmann and Torres clinically combined before a minute had been played.
It was just 10 seconds or so on this occasion as the Frenchman latched onto a loose ball out from the back by Ramos, and he slid in Torres before the ex-AC Milan man turned the defender and slotted in with the calmness of old.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored eight minutes later but it was not to be the night of the Ballon d’Or winner, but rather the player they call El Nino - a kid no more, of course - who set-up a mouth-watering quarter-final meeting with Barcelona.