Gameiro's five-minute hat trick sees Atletico past Sporting Gijon
A flourish in the final 10 minutes saw Atletico Madrid claim an impressive 4-1 victory away to Sporting Gijon on Saturday. The scoreline is an unfair reflection on the home side -- who dominated large periods of the game -- but Atleti's clinical streak in front of goal ensured them of the three points.
A Yannick Carrasco strike was cancelled out by Sergio Alvarez in a quick start to the second half, and after both sides exchanged chances, substitute Kevin Gameiro smashed in a quick-fire hat trick late on to secure victory.
Could this be the moment Gameiro finally arrives in Rojiblanco? He looked like he had a point to prove and was a real handful. Antoine Griezmann also continued his fine run of form while Carrasco looks to have rediscovered his, too.
The defence was shaky all afternoon. Six-foot-nine Lacina Traore might have contributed to that, but Stefan Savic is a walking disaster at the moment. Diego Godin's return to fitness cannot come quick enough.
Manager rating out of 10
9 -- An attacking starting XI was overrun, but Diego Simeone rectified that, and it was his decision to bring on Gameiro that changed the game.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Miguel Moya, 6 -- Could not do much about the goal, but was solid in everything else he did. Handled a couple of crosses aimed at the big man very well.
DF Sime Vrsaljko, 6 -- Solid if unspectacular. Defended well, but could perhaps have closed down crosses a bit better.
DF Stefan Savic, 4 -- Is managing to look worse with every game he plays. Was the senior partner at the back, but it was he who looked wet behind the ears as opposed to his 21-year-old teammate Lucas Hernandez. Almost gifted Sporting an opener in the first half and should have blocked the goal on the line. Given the runaround by Traore all afternoon.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 6 -- Hindered by the fact he had a hapless Savic next to him, but the Frenchman acquitted himself well. Dealt much better with Traore than the Montenegrin and produced a couple of crucial blocks.
DF Filipe Luis, 6 -- Solid in defence and attacked with gusto, but like Vrsaljko could have done more to prevent crosses coming in. One brave header denied the home side a certain goal.
MF Yannick Carrasco, 7 -- Barely had a sniff in the first half, but made an instant impact in the second as he bundled over the line after missing his initial shot. Appears to have regained his mojo just in time for the Champions League next week.
MF Gabi, 6 -- Struggled a bit in midfield against quick-footed, high-pressing opponents. Never backed out of a tackle or confrontation but did not show enough on the ball quality today.
MF Koke, 6 -- Like Gabi he was a bit overwhelmed by Sporting's high press, however, he looked better once the home side had tired in the last 20 minutes. Set piece delivery a mixed bag.
MF Angel Correa, 7 -- Lively. Probably Los Colchoneros' best player in the first period and went close twice before being replaced just after the hour mark.
FW Fernando Torres, 5 -- Unfortunately, this was more the Torres of the first few months of the season than the one we have seen in recent weeks. Struggled to get involved, lost the ball when he did and was replaced on the hour by the hat trick hero -- which must put his starting place in Leverkusen next week into doubt.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 -- Might not have scored, but did everything but. Had a goal disallowed for a fractional offside, showed his nous not to get involved when Carrasco ran through given his positioning and combined excellently with Gameiro for all three of his goals. A brilliant display.
Kevin Gameiro, 9 -- Looked like it was going to be one of those days when he fell over while through on goal at 1-1, but showed excellent composure and technique to bag a five-minute hat trick near the end and win his side the game. Needs to build on this now.
Saul Niguez, 7 -- Not risked from the off because of a slight injury, but looked good when he came on. Helped shore up the middle of the park and tested the keeper with a header.
Thomas Partey, 6 -- Gave much-needed fresh legs to the middle of the park for the last 20.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.