Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid bounced back from their Champions League disappointment by blowing away Cadiz 4-1 in La Liga on Sunday, with Diego Simeone’s side scoring all of their goals in the second half.
Thomas Lemar began the scoring flurry in the 56th minute before Antoine Greizmann and Angel Correa put Atletico out of sight. Anthony Lozano pulled a goal back for Cadiz with four minutes left but Matheus Cunha responded immediately to add a fourth for Atleti.
Victory helps lift morale after Atletico’s 1-0 defeat at home to AC Milan in midweek, a result that leaves them with something of a mountain to climb to reach the Champions League last 16.
They will have to win at Porto in the final game next month and hope Milan fail to pull off a win at home to group winners Liverpool.
Atletico look better placed in La Liga, sitting second now in the table, just a point below Real Madrid, who play at home to third-placed Sevilla later on Sunday.
Atleti jump above Real Sociedad, who had earlier slipped to a shock 1-0 loss away at Espanyol.
“We needed a win like this to set an example for ourselves,” said Lemar. “We wanted to show we have a great team – we are very happy.”
Real Sociedad could have gone top, for a few hours at least, but instead saw Espanyol end their 13-match unbeaten run in the league thanks to a late winner from Yangel Herrera.
La Real dominated for long periods but struggled to create many chances, with the closest they came when Adnan Januzaj struck the crossbar in the 63rd minute.
Venezuelan international Herrera made them pay with a deflected effort 13 minutes from time to score his first Espanyol goal since joining on loan from Manchester City.