Fernando Torres continued his renaissance in the Copa del Rey last night, with an all-action display that included making mincemeat of Barcelona midfielder Sergi Busquets with an expertly-timed Cruyff turn.
Busquets fell straight to the floor after buying a dummy from his former Spain team-mate in a pulsating quarter-final, which featured one of the craziest first 45 minutes you will see all season long.
Torres opened the scoring after just 40 second with an instinctive finish that caught Barca's static backline completely off guard, his third goal since moving back to Atleti earlier this month.
The former £50m Chelsea flop is beginning to show some of the sharpness in recent weeks that has been absent for the best part of three years, with a particular penchant for bursting out of the blocks with early goals close to kick-off.
His treble for Atletico in 2015 have all come within a combined 124 seconds of matches either kicking off or resuming, no mean feat for a man who was woefully out of form at AC Milan.
Torres revival not enough for Atleti
A cracking start from Diego Simeone's side was ultimately not enough to claw back the deficit over two legs though, with Barca replying with three goals in a tremendous first half full of attacking endeavour.
Atleti lost their heads with the tie slipping out of sight, with Gabi sent off following a half-time bust-up between the teams.
Simeone's side were reduced to nine men as Mario Suarez was also dismissed late on, but Atleti fans can at least console themselves with the fact that their failed cup campaign has featured some special moments for Torres, a man who looks well placed to keep improving for the remainder of 2015.
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