Atletico Madrid have moved to within four points of La Liga leaders Barcelona courtesy of a 4-0 win over Leganes at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Antoine Griezmann followed up on his hat-trick against Sevilla at the weekend by netting all four goals for Diego Simeone’s side, who were far too strong on the night.
The victory was Atletico’s eighth in a row in all competitions, and Barcelona will now be under pressure to win at Las Palmas on Thursday night ahead of the meeting between the two teams at Camp Nou this weekend.
Simeone made two changes to the team that started against Sevilla at the weekend, with Juanfran and Angel Correa coming in for Sime Vrsaljko and Gabi, who both dropped to the bench.
Thomas Partey kept his spot in central midfield alongside Saul Niguez, while neither Griezmann nor Diego Costa were rested ahead of Sunday’s clash with Barcelona.
As for Leganes, head coach Asier Garitano shuffled his pack following the goalless draw with Las Palmas last time out. Gerard Gumbau, Raul Garcia and Martin Mantovani all came into the XI, while Miguel Guerrero was chosen to lead the line as Nordin Amrabat dropped to the bench.
Atletico were on the front foot from the very first whistle in Madrid, with Costa, Koke and Correa all having shots in the first four minutes of football.
It was Leganes that had the first serious opportunity in the ninth minute, however, with Guerrero heading a dangerous Unai Bustinza cross just over the crossbar.
Leganes had an even better chance in the 11th minute when Gabriel picked out Javier Eraso with a wonderful pass, but the number 17 could only clip the ball wide of the post.
Griezmann then hit the crossbar with a super free kick down the other end as an entertaining match continued to produce.
The Atletico woodwork was rattled in the 22nd minute courtesy of a wonderful strike from Gumbau, and Filipe Luis then managed to block Gabriel’s goal-bound strike moments later.
Finally the deadlock was broken in the 26th minute when Griezmann collected a brilliant pass from Koke before sliding the ball under Ivan Cuellar from close range.
Griezmann then doubled Atletico’s advantage in the 35th minute when he found the top corner with a swerving free kick from just outside the Leganes box.
Griezmann had the opportunity to complete his hat-trick three minutes later when Costa released him in a dangerous area, but the 24-year-old could not find a route past Cuellar on this particular occasion.
Amrabat had the first serious chance of the second period when he worked some space outside the Atletico box before striking towards goal, but Jan Oblak was across to make a smart save.
It was Atletico that scored the game’s third goal, however, with Griezmann completing his hat-trick in the 56th minute by heading an excellent Luis cross into the top corner.
Griezmann then netted his fourth 11 minutes later when he bundled a Costa cross past Cuellar from close range.
Costa should have made it 5-0 in the 71st minute when he broke into the Leganes box, but Cuellar was on hand to make a very smart save as Atletico continued to search for more goals.
Griezmann and Costa were both withdrawn in the 73rd minute ahead of the Barcelona match, but Atletico were still threatening, with Saul Niguez just missing the post from distance 10 minutes from time.
Atletico could not find a fifth on the night, however, and it was actually Leganes that had the final chance of the match late on – Bustinza’s volley bringing a fine save from Oblak.