Atletico Madrid bounced back from defeat at Sevilla with Kevin Gameiro and Yannick Carrasco each scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Malaga despite Stefan Savic’s second-half sending off threatening to derail a strong performance.
The reverse last time out at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan was their first defeat of the season in any competition, and although two-goal Gameiro led the way in an excellent display before the break, Savic’s sending off almost saw their hard work go to waste.
In-form Carrasco broke the deadlock with his fifth goal in four games across all competitions and Gameiro doubled their advantage – both goals showcasing Malaga’s frailty at the back.
The visitors pulled one back with a Sandro Ramirez free-kick which had more than a hint of fortune about it, though the two-goal advantage was soon restored by the nuisance Gameiro just before the break.
Savic collected his second yellow card on the hour mark and former Atletico youngster Ignacio Camacho headed in Malaga’s second shortly after, filling the visitors with belief.
But ruthless Atletico sat back and expertly hit Malaga with a sucker-punch four minutes from time, as Carrasco doubled his tally for the day to kill the visitors’ hopes of a late comeback.
Atletico looked eager to prove their display at Sevilla was nothing more than a blip and they got off to a great start, taking the lead just seven minutes in.
Carrasco breezed past the cumbersome Bakary Kone with ease and sent a left-footed effort across Carlos Kameni and into the bottom-right corner.
Kone was culpable again in the 24th minute, as he bizarrely headed a tame cross straight back into the danger zone a
nd Gameiro slammed in from 12 yards after Camacho could only clear as far as the Frenchman.
The visitors got themselves a lifeline shortly after, though, as Sandro somehow curled a free-kick into the top-far corner despite facing a tight angle out on the left flank.
But their hope was short-lived, as Antoine Griezmann nodded a lofted pass into the path of Gameiro and he emphatically found the bottom-left corner from just inside the area.
Gameiro nearly clinched a hat-trick within two minutes of the restart, as he darted into the right side of the area, gliding past Mikel Villanueva before seeing his shot smothered by Kameni.
Things got trickier for Atletico after an hour, as Savic received a second yellow card for cynically catching Chory Castro.
And Malaga halved the deficit a few moments later – Camacho squeezing a header through Jan Oblak’s legs from Castro’s corner.
Despite clawing their way back into things and having a numerical advantage, Malaga struggled to penetrate an Atletico side which sat back and looked to counter.
And the hosts eventually wrapped things up – Carrasco racing clear up the right flank and applying a lovely finish into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box.