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Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez star as Atletico thrash Copenhagen

After an early scare, Atletico Madrid put down a marker in the Europa League as they swept aside Copenhagen 4-1 in their own back yard to put one foot into the last 16.

After missing a glut of chances early on, Viktor Fischer stunned Los Rojiblancos as he finished from close range, however, it only served to awaken Diego Simeone's side into action in the swirling snow.

Saul Niguez and Kevin Gameiro hit back in the first half, while strikes from Antoine Griezmann and Vitolo after the break ensured next week's second leg is now a formality.

Positives

Four away goals, job all but done, happy days.

Negatives

Sounds churlish, but the amount of chances squandered was not good. As the competition progresses, Atleti will need to take those opportunities against better opposition.

Manager rating out of 10

-- Simeone was vindicated with his initial starting XI and his substitutions helped put the result beyond doubt.

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 otherwise in testing conditions.

DF Juanfran, 7 -- Attacked with his usual gusto, however Copenhagen enjoyed early success as they targeted the full-back and the goal came from a move down his side.

DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 8 -- Looking solid. Relished the physical battle and won almost all of his headers at the back. Is looking the part and must be first choice now.

DF Diego Godin, 6 -- Showed admiral bravery by rushing himself back into action after dental surgery 10 days ago but looked nervy early on. Grew with the game and was settled by the end.

DF Lucas Hernandez, 9 -- We keep saying he is not a left-back, but he is keeping natural full-back Filipe Luis out of the side at the moment and it is not hard to see why. Solid in defence and produced a great assist for Gameiro's goal. Growing with every game.

MF Koke, 7 -- Helped circulate the ball well and perhaps the reason Lucas looks so good is that Koke is playing in front of him offering tons of protection.

MF Thomas Partey, 7 -- Played too high up in the first half and left the back four a bit too exposed. Rectified that with a controlled display after the break.

MF Saul Niguez, 8 -- Fired over early on but got his team back in the game with a good header -- ending a goal drought dating back to December.

Antoine Griezmann was in a different class from everyone else on the pitch in Copenhagen.
Antoine Griezmann was near his best against Copenhagen, creating five chances and scoring his 13th goal of the season.

MF Angel Correa, 5 -- Not a match that will live long in the memory bank. Did not know he was on the pitch until he was booked for kicking the ball away. Subbed on the hour.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 -- Looked like it was going to be one of those nights as he fluffed two early chances but after that, he was the best player on the pitch by a mile. Put in the cross for Saul's goal, was involved in the build-up for the other two and showed great composure to bag his own.

FW Kevin Gameiro, 7 -- A game that summed up the Frenchman's time at Atleti. Right place at the right time to poke home a poacher's finish to make it 2-1, missed a one-on-one but ultimately the team looked better without him on the pitch.

Substitutes

MF Yannick Carrasco (for Correa), 8 -- Excellent impact. Should have had a penalty before setting up Griezmann with a perfect pass.

MF Vitolo (for Gameiro), 7 -- Got the goal he badly needed and hopefully it will do wonders for his confidence and give his Atleti career lift off.

MF Gabi (for Koke), NR -- Helped see out the final 10+ minutes.

Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.

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