Atleti ease to victory over Sevilla

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Atletico Madrid brushed aside a below-par Sevilla to claim a professional and ultimately emphatic 4-0 Primera Division win. Goals from Koke and Saul Niguez in a low-key first half put the reigning Spanish champions in control of the game. And Raul Garcia's penalty and Raul Jimenez's header in the closing stages ensured the points would not slip away. Atleti boss Diego Simeone was back in the dugout following his eight-match touchline ban stemming from his conduct in the Supercopa win over city rivals Real Madrid. He watched from close quarters in a quiet opening to the game, which was finally enlivened when Koke chanced his arm in the 19th minute and his effort met with a favourable outcome. The midfielder struck from 20 yards out, to the left of centre, and his shot took a wicked deflection past keeper Beto for the opening goal. Sevilla's Timothee Kolodzieczak was perhaps lucky to only receive a yellow card shortly beforehand for fouling Gabi Fernandez as he ran towards goal and he was soon followed into the book by team-mate Nicolas Pareja. Koke's corner produced the next chance, Gabi's header tipped over by Beto. From the next corner, resulting from that save, Cristian Ansaldi fired over. Saul doubled the hosts' advantage three minutes before half-time, heading home after the ball was lofted across the penalty area by Miranda following a free-kick. Sevilla tried to fight back early in the second period, Diogo Figueiras with a 20-yard effort which was fielded by goalkeeper Miguel Moya. Koke sought to repeat his first-half strike but this time scuffed a weak effort wide, and Stephane Mbia headed over from Sevilla's next chance. Mario Mandzukic, playing in a mask to protect a broken nose, headed wide from close range and Arda Turan's drive was tipped around the post by the overworked Beto. Substitute Antoine Griezmann should have made it 3-0 but was taken out by the raised foot of Figueiras for the spot-kick from which Garcia sent Beto the wrong way. And the fourth goal came when Garcia was fouled by Denis Suarez and Koke's right-wing free-kick was met by a precise diving header from Jimenez. The win takes Atletico second, two points behind Barcelona and one ahead of third-placed Valencia, who face Real Sociedad on Sunday.