Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro both scored braces as Atletico Madrid ran riot with a 5-0 victory away to Levante in La Liga on Saturday night.
The result has seen Atletico jump above their rivals Real Madrid on goal difference, and Diego Simeone’s side are now just three points off second-placed Valencia, who host league leaders Barcelona on Sunday.
Levante boss Juan Muniz made just the one change from the team that beat Las Palmas 2-0 last weekend, and it came in defence as Rober Pier replaced Sergio Postigo.
Atletico’s team, meanwhile, showed five changes from the one that started against Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday night. Diego Godin and Stefan Savic returned at centre-back, while Gabi, Angel Correa and Gameiro took the places of Augusto Fernandez, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Fernando Torres.
Atletico needed just five minutes to make the breakthrough, and it was an unfortunate moment for Levante centre-back Rober, who turned a Gameiro cross into the back of his own net from close range.
Jason had the chance to equalise for Levante in the 18th minute after the ball fell for the midfielder in a central position, but his effort bounced wide of Jan Oblak’s post.
Three minutes later, Atletico had a golden opportunity to double their lead as Griezmann released Gameiro inside the Levante box, but the Frenchman could not find a route past Oier in the home side’s net.
The visitors did have their second in the 29th minute, however, when Gameiro had the simple task of slotting home after Levante centre-back Chema had teed up the striker when attempting to clear an effort from Correa, who had rounded Oier before looking to find the back of the net.
Enes Unal had Levante’s best chance of the first period after meeting a cross from Jose Morales, but the striker headed narrowly wide of the post following a quick free kick.
Levante might have entered the break 3-0 behind as Thomas Partey released Gameiro inside the home side’s box late in the half, but Oier was on hand to make a smart save as two goals separated the two sides at the break.
Unal had another sighter for the home side 10 minutes into the second period, but Oblak was always comfortable making the save, before the former Manchester City forward sent a low effort wide of the far post.
Atletico had their third in the 59th minute, however, when Gameiro collected a super pass from Griezmann before poking the ball into the far corner of the net.
Griezmann then got in on the act in the 65th minute when he converted a low Gameiro cross at the far post as Atletico made it four.
Four minutes later, Griezmann scored his second of the night as he tapped home from close range after Gameiro had seen his powerful effort saved by Oier.
Torres had the chance to make it six in the 77th minute after being fed by the brilliant Griezmann, but the striker sent his effort wide of the near post, before testing Oier three minutes later.
Nano came close to giving the Levante supporters something to cheer in the final moments, but the substitute sent his low effort wide of the post as it finished 5-0 in Valencia.