Antoine Griezmann, Ángel Correa and Kévin Gameiro all scored as Atlético Madrid coasted to a 3-0 victory over Eibar on Thursday night at the Vicente Calderón.
A more attacking Atlético shrugged off early silence from the ultras in the south stand and eased to victory in the first leg of its Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie. As a result, Diego Simeone’s men now face a very low-pressure second leg at Ipurúa next Wednesday.
Atlético played in silence until the 20th minute, as the Frente Atlético protested the club’s controversial badge redesign. Less than 10 minutes after singing commenced, Griezmann scored a simple header after taking a flick-on from José Giménez. Los colchoneros took the 1-0 lead into halftime before Ángel Correa produced a simple finish on the hour. Gameiro came off the bench to put some gloss on the result and place Atleti on the doorstep of a first Copa del Rey semifinal in three years.
In a departure from recent games, Simeone started both Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitán on the wings while Koke and Saúl Ñíguez were paired together in central midfield. Atleti began the match brightly and with plenty of the ball, in spite of the strange kickoff time, poor attendance and silence emanating from the Fondo Sur. Stefan Savić had a goal disallowed for offside after he tapped in a bouncing ball which originated from a Koke free kick.
Koke’s next free kick, however, would indeed put Atlético ahead. The captain’s searching ball found Giménez, who smartly flicked on for an onside Griezmann to head into an empty net and hand Atleti a lead in the 28th minute.
Eibar threatened some after Atleti went ahead, but resolute defending and safe hands from Miguel Ángel Moyá kept los armeros out.
Neither side made changes at the break, and Atlético continued to push through the excellent Nico Gaitán and the lively Ángel Correa. It was the latter who doubled the advantage on the hour. A lung-bursting Carrasco run into the box was snuffed out by multiple defenders, but Correa was in the right place at the right time, and he slotted home with ease.
Correa was replaced almost immediately by Gameiro and Carrasco soon departed for Gabi, as Simeone moved to sew up the result and by extension the tie. But Gameiro would find the net himself in the 68th minute. Koke swung a corner out to Giménez, who headed to Griezmann at the back post. Griezmann then found Gameiro at the opposite post and the Frenchman notched his first Copa del Rey goal of the season courtesy of a superb header.
Atlético ended the game with 56% possession and scored on each of its three shots on target, while Moyá made only one save (per InfoAtleti). Atleti have kept five clean sheets since the 3-0 loss at Villarreal on Dec. 12, and this marks the team’s third clean sheet in this season’s Copa, with all three coming in the first leg. Los rojiblancos are 90 minutes from a first semifinal since 2014 and will look to finish off Eibar officially at Ipurúa on Wednesday.