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Atlético Madrid 2-0 Sevilla: Match report

Atlético turned on the afterburners following a blasé first half and raced past Sevilla.

Atletico Madrid v Sevilla - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid kept rolling at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, showing a bit of strut in their step as they rode a strong second half to a 2-0 win over Sevilla.

Atlético slept through the first half of the early kickoff, but emerged from the dressing room at halftime a completely different side. Yannick Carrasco opened the scoring 53 seconds into the second half and Antoine Griezmann followed with a super goal from a tight angle 20 minutes from time, as Diego Simeone’s rotated defense kept another clean sheet and finished off an impressive week.

With new signing Diego Costa in the stands, Simeone rolled out another retooled XI. He made five changes to the side that beat Athletic Bilbao midweek, as Šime Vrsaljko took over at right back and Diego Godín was benched in favor of Lucas Hernández. Gabi returned in place of Thomas Partey, Carrasco replaced Nicolás Gaitán and Luciano Vietto started up top rather than Ángel Correa.

At first, it didn’t look as if the changes would pay off. Lucas and Carrasco were responsible for much of Atlético’s attack in the first half, with little inspiration or energy throughout. Filipe Luís struck the crossbar with Sergio Rico beaten in the 18th minute, and Atleti had little else to show for the first 45. Sevilla, though, had even less, as Eduardo Berizzo’s side failed to take advantage of gaps in the mattress maker defense.

But the second half was an entirely different story. Inside the first minute, Carrasco raced around Steven N’Zonzi (who really should have had an easy clearance) to latch onto a ball from Luciano Vietto. Sergio Rico came out to greet the Belgian, but Carrasco left him in the dust before he slotted home with ease into an open net. The winger raced into the Wanda Metropolitano crowd to celebrate his third goal of the season.

Sevilla continued to threaten, particularly after bright young attacker Joaquín Correa entered for Pablo Sarabia. However, Atlético’s airtight defense conceded little space after a shaky first half and the Andalusians came closest after the hour on a free kick-initiated scramble in front of Jan Oblak. And moments later, Griezmann would put the result beyond doubt.

The move started with a cutting Koke ball into the box for Carrasco, whose subsequent pass turned around an unmarked Griezmann. But the ball fell to a waiting Filipe Luís, who promptly fed the ball right back to Griezmann to slot in through Rico’s legs from a tight angle. The Frenchman was subbed almost immediately after the goal — another instance of Simeone’s growing comfort with rest and rotation — and Atlético saw out the result comfortably from there; Sevilla finished the match with zero shots on target.

Atleti complete a hugely successful week by taking nine out of a possible nine points against Málaga, Athletic and Sevilla. Simeone’s men are now provisionally second and await Chelsea’s arrival at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.

Lineups:

Atlético: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savić, Lucas, Filipe Luís; Koke, Gabi, Saúl Ñíguez, Carrasco (Gameiro, 81’); Griezmann (Thomas, 72’), Vietto (Á. Correa, 56’).

Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Gabriel Mercado (Krohn-Dehli, 76’) Lenglet, Carriço, Carole; Vasquez, N’Zonzi, Banega; Navas, Muriel (Ben Yedder, 67’), Sarabia (J. Correa, 57’).

Goals:

Atlético: Carrasco 46’, Griezmann 70’

Sevilla: none