Madrid, Sep 27 (efe-epa).- With the focus rightfully on Luis Suarez, who scored two goals and assisted on another during his 20 minutes on the pitch, Atletico de Madrid surged to a 6-1 victory on Sunday over a hapless Granada at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with no crowd in the stands due to coronavirus restrictions.
The capital squad dominated the match all the way through and not even Gimenez’s absence, out sick with Covid-19, and a penalty kick missed by Saul were able to dampen the team’s spirits as it romped to its well-deserved win, with Suarez assisting Llorente in scoring the team’s fourth goal and then finding the twine himself on the fifth and sixth.
It was a magnificent season debut both for Atletico and for Suarez, who came over from Barcelona in a 6 million euro (some $6.6 million) deal last Friday and came off the bench, but it was Diego Costa who had earlier given the hosts the lead.
Both Angel Correa and Joao Felix, probably the best player of the match buried Granada early with goals of their own, before Suarez got going – coming in for Costa in the 70th minute – and iced the cake in fabulous fashion.
In fact, Suarez might well have gotten a third goal, since he got a penalty kick and was ready to take it only to have the decision reversed by referee Javier Estrada, thus denying him a potential hat trick.
Felix, by all accounts, performed marvelously, and if the 20-year-old phenom can even out his play a bit in the coming weeks, Atletico could get rid of its past scoring problems and be well in the running for the La Liga championship this time around.
Costa got the team on the board in the 9th minute, heading in Correa’s crossing shot.
Although Diego Simeone’s squad continued to dominate throughout the first half, nothing further got on the board, but three minutes after play resumed after the break Felix set up one and scored one of his own, initially finding Correa near the back post with a nicely placed pass and then going for a tally himself, wiggling inside after a clever fake-out by Costa.
After that, and after Costa retired, it was all Suarez.
First, he set up a fourth goal by Llorente almost immediately after coming onto the pitch.
Then, he blasted in a header after Llorente returned the favor with a cross. Granada at last managed to get one into the net courtesy of Jorge Molina, making it 5-1, but Suarez was still on the hunt and he fired one in from outside the area, hitting the post but grabbing the rebound and sending it home in the 90th minute.
Atletico de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi; Correa (Vitolo, m. 77), Koke (Lemar, m. 77), Saul, Carrasco (Thomas, m. 70); Joao Felix (Marcos Llorente, m. 70), Diego Costa (Luis Suarez, m. 70).
Granada: Rui Silva; Víctor Diaz, Domingos Duarte, Vallejo, Foulquier; Ramon Azeez, Luis Milla (Fede Vico, m. 70), Yangel Herrera (Yan Eteki, m. 70); Antonio Puertas (Darwin Machis, m. 60), Jorge Molina and Kenedy (Alberto Soro, m. 60).
Referee: Estrada Fernandez showed yellow cards to Atletico’s Joao Felix (m. 26), Saul (M. 58) and Thomas (m. 74) and to Granada’s Domingos Duarte (m. 16).