Torres double reminds Atleti of quality, while Vietto's struggles continue
Atletico Madrid strolled into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with a routine 3-0 home win over third-tier Elche on Wednesday night.
After a nervy first leg and some surprise results the past few days, Atleti knew of the potential for a giant killing, but they continued their good form of late and appear to have turned a corner this season.
Jose Maria Gimenez sent another message to the boss with a headed goal, while the crowd were delighted to see Fernando Torres bag a double while wearing the captain's armband. Tougher tests await, but it was a professional job well done.
A couple of goals for Torres, and we have seen of late what a goal can do for a forward's confidence in the shape of Kevin Gameiro. A clean sheet is always nice, while Augusto Fernandez's return from injury and Thomas Partey's growing maturity are going to be pivotal in a few months' time.
Luciano Vietto and Nicolas Gaitan are not good enough for Atletico. Enough said.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Diego Simeone picked a strong team, and they got the job done.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Miguel Angel Moya, 6 -- Could have had the proverbial pipe and slippers on. Hopefully did not catch a cold standing around.
DF Thomas Partey, 6 -- Showed his versatility once again with a stellar showing at full-back. Had little to do in defence and attacked at will. Could this be his long-term position in the team?
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 7 -- Dealt with the few things he had to do in defence and planted a superb header in to open the scoring and set his side on the road to victory.
DF Stefan Savic, 6 -- Essentially had the night off. Unlucky not to score as he saw an effort hacked off the line.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 7 -- Tireless up and down the left flank all night, illustrated in his effort that was well-saved in stoppage time. Close with a long-ranger earlier on, too.
MF Nicolas Gaitan, 5 -- Started promisingly, knowing this was one last opportunity to impress before Vitolo's arrival in January, but ultimately did not take his chance. His inability to influence a game against such lowly opposition sums up his Atleti career to date.
MF Koke, 7 -- A piledriver off the post early, he served up the corner that Gimenez nodded home.
MF Augusto Fernandez, 6 -- Good to get 90 minutes in his legs as he continues to come back from injury.
MF Yannick Carrasco, 6 -- Very lively, and on another night with better finishing would have had a hatful of assists. Grew visibly frustrated as the night went on.
FW Luciano Vietto, 4 -- Involved in the game a lot, but he is supposed to be a striker, and how many better chances will he get to end a goal drought that is now more than 11 months long? Should have had a hat trick, and you actually began to feel sorry for him as teammates deliberately looked to set him up. Simply not of the requisite quality for this club.
FW Fernando Torres, 7 -- Not as involved in the game as Vietto, but he showed the Argentine exactly how to do it in front of goal. Truth be told, he could have had four or five.
Sime Vrsaljko (for Thomas), 7 -- Set up Torres' second with a nice cross.
Saul (for Koke), NR -- Allowed his midfield mate to put his feet up for the final 15.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.