Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways in the Champions League with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Astana in Group C.
Goals from Saul Niguez, Jackson Martinez, Oliver Torres and a Denys Dedechko own goal secured all three points for Diego Simeone’s side at Vicente Calderon as they put their defeat to Benfica in matchday two firmly behind them.
Having peppered the Astana goal early on it was Saul who finally broke the deadlock with a deft close-range finish, before Martinez ended his eight-game goal drought with the second just before the half hour.
Astana improved after the break and posed more of an attacking threat, but their new outlook was punished by substitute Oliver Torres after a swift Atletico counter-attack.
Fernando Torres twice went close to netting his 100th goal for the club in all competitions late on, but Nenad Eric was on hand to make two crucial saves to deny the striker.
There was nothing the goalkeeper could do about Dedechko’s late mishap as Atletico moved top of the group on goal difference at the halfway stage, while Astana remain bottom with a solitary point.
Atletico made a positive start to their second home match of the group with Martinez firing over before Diego Godin twice headed corners from Gabi straight at Eric.
The visiting goalkeeper was much the busier as Antoine Griezmann and Martinez continued to threaten, but he remained defiant until midway through the half when Saul produced an outrageous bit of skill to open the scoring.
After Griezmann had seen a header well saved, Saul executed an elegant backheel inside the six-yard box from the resulting corner.
Martinez doubled their advantage after 28 minutes as he grabbed his first European goal for Atletico, the Colombia international firing low on the turn to beat Eric from 15 yards – albeit with the aid of a deflection off Dedechko.
Atletico’s lead could have been even greater at the break but for Eric, who made a superb reflex save to deny Martinez’s diving header from Juanfran’s pinpoint cross.
Having failed to test Oblak in the opening 45 minutes Astana came out on the front foot after the restart, but Dedechko and Junior Kabananga wasted their best openings.
Slowly Atletico resumed control of proceedings with Saul and Gabi dictating play in the centre of midfield, however clear-cut chances failed to materialise until the hour mark when Yannick Ferreira Carrasco stung the palms of Eric having cut in from the left.
The third goal arrived three minutes later as Oliver Torres capped off a swift break led by Gabi, the substitute lifting the ball over Eric as the goalkeeper looked to narrow the angle.
Oblak then kept Atletico’s three-goal advantage intact two minutes later as he leapt full length to his left to deny Foxi Kethevoama.
Substitutes Angel Correa and Fernando Torres went close to increasing Atletico’s advantage late on before Dedechko’s woes were compounded, the defender turning a right-wing cross into his own net with two minutes to play.
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