22 October 2014 22:45
Koke scored one and claimed three assists as Atletico Madrid swept aside Malmo 5-0 to go top of Champions League Group A on Wednesday.
The Spain midfielder scored his second of the season from close range just after half-time and that was the signal for the floodgates to open.
Koke then crossed for Mario Mandzukic to slide in a second and Antoine Griezmann rifled in with just less than half an hour to go on his first Champions League start.
Captain Diego Godin powerfully headed home late on and substitute Alessio Cerci completed the scoring in injury time.
Malmo had defended resolutely in the first half and could have gone in front on the stroke of half-time through Magnus Eriksson’s free-kick, but ultimately they were no match for Atletico, who extended their phenomenal home record in European competition to 19 wins in the last 21 games.
Diego Simeone made five changes from the victory over Espanyol, with Tiago and Cristian Ansaldi out injured, while Miranda was recalled and Frenchman Griezmann came in.
Malmo had injury problems of their own and made three changes, with Markus Halsti, Erik Johansson and Isaac Kiese Thelin all coming in.
The Swedish champions boasted plenty of height in their team and Halsti’s header forced Miguel Angel Moya to turn his header over after four minutes.
That was an exception to the rule of a first half which saw Atletico dominate for large periods, and Griezmann almost made the most of a long pass after beating the offside trap, but Robin Olsen rushed off his line to thwart him.
Simeone’s men should have gone ahead after 33 minutes when Arda Turan’s pass left Griezmann with just Olsen to beat, but he hammered his shot onto the underside of the bar and Mandzukic’s headed rebound was blocked by Johansson on the line.
The visitors almost snatched the lead in first-half injury time, but Eriksson’s curling free-kick was tipped over by Moya.
Atletico went in front two minutes after half-time in intricate fashion. Patient build-up play was rewarded when Turan lifted a pass through to Koke six yards out and he slotted home with ease.
The neat passing almost brought a second three minutes later as Koke set up Mario Suarez just inside the area, but Olsen parried the swerving shot to safety.
If Atletico needed to be warned about being complacent, Emil Forsberg provided it after 59 minutes when he lashed a shot just wide.
And the hosts gave themselves a two-goal cushion a minute later through a lovely passing move that culminated with Koke’s low cross being converted by Mandzukic for his second Champions League goal this season.
The scoreline became even more emphatic two minutes later and Koke was once again involved as he found Griezmann, who found space to fire goalwards and, although Olsen got something on it, the ball bounced away and in for the third.
Godin grabbed the fourth with a well-taken header from Koke’s corner and, with the last attack, Cerci rattled the post before curling in the rebound to complete a convincing Atletico triumph.