Koke inspires Atletico Madrid second-half rout at home to Malmo


A Koke-inspired Atletico Madrid scored five second-half goals in a comprehensive victory over Malmo to go top of Champions League Group A on Wednesday. The Spain midfielder set the Primera Division champions on their way at the Vicente Calderon stadium early in the second half, before setting up Mario Mandzukic for a second goal on the hour mark. Koke then assisted Antoine Griezmann to make it three after 63 minutes and provided the cross for Diego Godin to head home a fourth with three minutes remaining, before substitute Alessio Cerci opened his Atletico account with a stoppage-time strike to seal a 5-0 rout. The win put Los Rojiblancos top of the pool, ahead of Olympiacos – 1-0 winners against Juventus in Greece – on goal difference, and left Malmo at the foot of the standings. The hosts were without injured midfielders Tiago and Gabi, with Atletico coach Diego Simeone leaving Raul Garcia on the bench and opting to play with Griezmann alongside Arda Turan and Mandzukic in attack. The Swedish visitors had the first chance of the game in the fifth minute when Markus Halsti's powerful header from Magnus Eriksson's cross went just over the bar. Shortly after, Turan got his head to Guillherme Siqueira's cross but nodded wide. The hosts should have gone in front in the 20th minute when Turan fed Juanfran in the area, but his left-footed shot was off target. Atletico were unlucky not to break the deadlock in the 34th minute when Griezmann connected with Turan's pass, but he saw his powerful shot from the heart of the area smash off the crossbar. Last season's Champions League runners-up continued to press forward and Malmo goalkeeper Robin Olsen did well to clear Griezmann's stinging drive from 30 yards. Before the interval, Godin nodded Koke's cross just wide as another opportunity went begging. The opener finally arrived not long after the restart, when Turan picked out Koke in the six-yard box and he struck past Olsen. Atletico could have extended their lead four minutes later when Koke fed Mario Suarez in the box, but his right-footed shot was saved by Olsen. The hosts kept up the pressure and made it 2-0 when Mandzukic tapped in Koke's low cross. Simeone's side increased their advantage when Koke fed Griezmann in the box and the Frenchman cut inside on his left foot and hit the ball out of Olsen's reach. In the 65th minute, Malmo's Ricardinho warmed the hands of Miguel Moya with a fierce drive from 30 yards which the under-worked Atletico goalkeeper did well to save. The Spanish outfit made it 4-0 in the 87th minute, Godin's well-directed header from Koke's corner beating Olsen, and Cerci wrapped up the victory in style when he tapped home a fifth after seeing his initial effort hit the bar.