Fernando Torres and Antoine Griezmann superb as Atleti beat Betis
Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways in La Liga and warmed up for Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona in style with a thumping 5-1 victory over Real Betis at the Calderon on Saturday afternoon.
Diego Simeone's men were at it from the off and might have scored on a couple of occasions before Fernando Torres eventually broke the Andalusian side's resistance with a neat finish.
Antoine Griezmann then scored the first of his brace five minutes later as his cross evaded everyone. He and Torres were both denied before the break as Los Rojiblancos pushed on, and just after the hour mark Juanfran bagged his first of the season.
A rare error from Jan Oblak gave Betis hope at 3-1, but Griezmann's second moments later put paid to any hope they had of a comeback. Substitute Thomas Partey rounded off the scoring in stoppage to ensure Atletico of a comfortable win and confidence will be sky-high headed into the mammoth clash with Barca.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Jan Oblak, 6 -- Made a stunning double save early in the second half, however had a shocker as he was unable to collect a cross to allow Ruben Castro to score a late consolation.
DF Juanfran, 8 -- Following a quiet first period, enjoyed himself after the break as Betis' defensive shape went to pot. Attacked with gusto and showed typical determination to get on the end of Angel Correa's cross to make it 3-0.
DF Nacho Monsalve, 7 -- A big day for the 21-year-old making his La Liga debut at the back, however could not have asked for an easier opponent in the shape of the league's lowest scorers. Acquitted himself well and showed no signs of nerves.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 7 -- An earlier than anticipated return from injury, which is good news given the club's crisis at centre-back. Was steady and helped Monsalve through his first outing.
DF Filipe Luis, 8 -- Los Rojiblancos' best attacking outlet in the first period as Betis' compact shape frustrated. Managed to combine well with Koke in addition to doing what he had to in defence, including one excellent covering tackle.
MF Koke, 8 -- A return to form at exactly the right time. Heavily involved in everything that was good about Atleti and his set pieces were a real threat. The midfielder saw his header crash against the bar in the opening five minutes before notching up another assist with a slide rule ball for Torres to open the scoring.
MF Gabi, 6 -- Covered every blade of grass in the middle of the park and was tireless. Will have a much harder night come Tuesday.
MF Augusto Fernandez, 6 -- The most defensively minded of Atletico's midfielders was not required to do too much given the visitors' relative lack of ambition. Taken off with quarter of an hour to go.
MF Saul Niguez, 6 -- On the periphery and did not have his usual influence on the game. Allowed to put his feet up for the final 20 minutes ahead of the Champions League tie in midweek.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 -- The No. 7 came away with two goals and might have had five were it not for some excellent goalkeeping. Was fortunate to score his first as a cross evaded everyone, but was in the right place at the right time to bag his 19th goal in La Liga this season from Angel Correa's lay-off. Provided the perfect cross for Thomas Partey to put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.
FW Fernando Torres, 9 -- Rolled back the years and was a thorn in the Betis side while he was on the pitch. Made a perfect run and dinked finish to open the scoring before playing an important role in his side's second. Produced stunning control and a perfect through ball for Griezmann to run clear on goal after the break but the Frenchman could not do the wonderful build-up play justice. Taken off to a standing ovation after 65 minutes with one eye on Tuesday.
FW Angel Correa (for Torres), 9 -- A fantastic cameo. His first contribution was to set up Juanfran with a wonderful cross. Showed wonderful technique and his unselfish side to square to Griezmann to make it 4-1.
MF Thomas Partey (for Saul), 8 -- Another substitute with an instant impact, he rampaged forwards into the box but was unfortunate to see his effort carom off the post. Eventually got his goal in stoppage time from close range.
MF Matias Kranevitter (for Augusto), N/R -- Brought on to help see out the final 15 minutes.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.