Yannick Ferreira Carrasco’s first career hat-trick helped Atletico Madrid emphatically reverse a shock early deficit to overpower winless Granada 7-1 and ensure Lucas Alcaraz’s third spell in charge began with defeat.
Rock-bottom Granada, who parted company with Paco Jemez before the international break, threatened an upset when Isaac Cuenca’s superb 18th-minute strike put them ahead at the Vicente Calderon.
But the hosts were eventually stirred from their stupor and, having been toppled from LaLiga’s summit by the earlier wins for Sevilla and Barcelona, fought back to lead by the break.
Carrasco capitalised on some questionable goalkeeping to level in the 34th minute and was the beneficiary of a kind deflection in the dying embers of the first half.
Diego Simeone’s men, unbeaten in all competitions this season, put the contest to bed with a rampant second-half showing, Carrasco sweeping home his third and substitute Nicolas Gaitan netting a brace.
That left Angel Correa and Tiago to complete the rout as the size of the task facing Alcaraz was made all too clear.
It looked from the outset as though Granada had come to frustrate Atletico and the visitors were diligent in their work off the ball, chasing and harrying the home side in a low-key start to proceedings.
But the game was sparked into life in the most unexpected way, with Cuenca taking a touch before volleying beyond a well-beaten Jan Oblak from the edge of the box.
An increasingly exasperated Simeone urged his team forward and saw Diego Godin head wide from a 24th-minute corner.
Atletico cranked up the pressure before the interval and Juanfran was denied by a smart stop from Guillermo Ochoa, who was partly at fault when the equaliser arrived.
The Mexican flapped at a tame header from Antoine Griezmann – LaLiga’s Player of the Month for September – then charged into a crowd scene as Carrasco busied himself with ramming the loose ball into an unguarded net.
A deflection left the goalkeeper wrong-footed as the turnaround was completed in the last minute of the half, Carrasco’s shot squirming in at the near post via Tito’s legs.
Granada, who now have just two points from eight matches, were no less spirited in the second half, but Atletico’s superior quality always looked likely to overwhelm them.
It took until the match entered its final half-hour before the gulf in class was more accurately reflected in the scoreline, though, with Carrasco rounding off his treble in style from Griezmann’s assist.
Gaitan gathered a rebound and steered in from inside the six-yard box less than a minute after coming on to add to Granada’s woes, which were compounded when the Argentine doubled his tally with an incisive finish.
If Alcaraz thought the punishment was over, he was wrong. Correa coolly added the sixth after a defensive lapse and Tiago added further gloss with a roofed effort.
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