MADRID: Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla 6-1 on Saturday to move up to third place in La Liga, while Diego Simeone celebrated as he set a new milestone as a coach.
Memphis Depay scored twice for the hosts, with Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco extending the lead and Alvaro Morata adding a brace in a defeat, confirming Atletico’s huge improvement in 2023.
Argentina coach Simeone overtook the late Luis Aragones as Atlético’s most-game manager, with the latter his 613th at the helm of the Rojiblancos after taking charge in 2011.
Simeone has helped Atletico win La Liga twice and the Copa del Rey once, turning them into a team capable of competing with giants Real Madrid and Barcelona for domestic honors as well as two Europa Leagues.
His team failed this season, dropped out of the group stage in Europe and are no longer in the title race, but after the World Cup they found their groove.
After trailing Real Sociedad since November, they took advantage of the Basque side’s draw against Cadiz on Friday to move up a point and secure third place.
“I asked two things of them, play with passion and play with heart, they (already) have the talent,” Simeone told reporters.
“I’m calm, I’m in the place I love, I like to see this team rise in the difficult moments.”
Griezmann sprinted over to celebrate his goal with Simeone on the touchline and said he was hoping for a performance of this caliber.
“What is an important day for him is an important day for me,” Griezmann told Movistar.
“I really wanted this game to be magic for him and the fans because we deserve it.
“We’ve had incredible momentum since the World Cup and may it continue.”
The blows left Jorge Sampaolis Sevilla in 16th, a point above the relegation zone and they could be drawn into them on Sunday.
“We played very badly,” Sevilla defender Marcos Acuna told Movistar.
“It goes beyond all limits. We played very badly and that’s why we were beaten.”
Simeone gave Depay his first start since moving from Barcelona in January and the Dutchman took full advantage.
Griezmann threaded a pass for the striker, who slipped between Yassine Bounou’s legs after 23 minutes to score the opener.
Depay struck his second three minutes later, firing from the edge of the box into the top corner to double Atletico’s lead.
Sevilla pulled one back out of the blue through Youssef En-Nesyri from close range before half-time.
Griezmann restored Atletico’s cushion early in the second half with a spectacular long-range shot, his 150th goal for the club and Carrasco soon added another.
Ivan Rakitic hit the post with a penalty after Pape Gueye was fouled and Atletico paid him by quickly finding the fifth, with Morata netting on the second try after a fine move with Griezmann heavily involved again.
Gueye was sent off hard for a second yellow card to make Sevilla’s evening worse before Morata netted in added time.
Rumors are mounting that this could be Simeone’s last season at Atletico but if that is the case then the manager is determined to go for a high at least in terms of performance, if not silver.
Simeone’s contract expires in June 2024 and as the team improves again he may also decide to end it.
“Of course you can’t imagine Atletico Madrid without ‘Cholo’. If I’m not mistaken, he’s been at the club for eleven years,” said Atlético midfielder Koke.
“When he came he brought a clear vision and a change of mindset, he united everyone and gave the club the stability it needs.”
The previous Saturday, Villarreal climbed up to sixth with a 2-0 win in Almeria thanks to goals from Gerard Moreno and Jose Luis Morales, both assisted by the powerful Samu Chukwueze.
Bottom of the table Elche clinched only their second win of the season with a 1-0 win against Mallorca, but remains 12 points away from safety.
Getafe clinched an entertaining 3-2 win over Girona to move provisionally to 15th place, with Turkish striker Enes Unal scoring a brace. -AFP
https://www.thesundaily.my/sport/atletico-thrash-sevilla-celebrate-simeone-record-in-style-JG10709213 Atletico beat Sevilla, celebrate Simeone record in style