MX23RW : Wednesday, October 27 07:11:26| >> :60:956:956:
Oct 21, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at Vicente Calderon Stadium
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
4-0
AstanaAstana
Niguez (23'), Martinez (29'), Oliver (63'), Dedechko (89' og.)
FT(HT: 2-0)

Live Commentary: Atletico Madrid 4-0 Astana - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage from the Vicente Calderon as Atletico Madrid thump Astana 4-0 in a one-sided Champions League affair.
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Atletico Madrid took a big step toward the last 16 of the Champions League after smashing a disappointing Astana side 4-0 at the Vicente Calderon.

First-half goals from Saul Niguez and Jackson Martinez helped the hosts into a 2-0 half-time lead, before Oliver Torres added an excellent third after the hour mark.

Denys Dedechko added a fourth via an own goal late to put gloss on what was Atletico's was Atletico's second victory in Group C, having lost to Benfica on matchday two of the competition.

Below, relive the win with our live text commentary.


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So, can Atletico Madrid bounce back from their surprise 2-1 defeat by Benfica here at the Vicente Calderon last time out? They should. They definitely should. Astana, from Kazakhstan, will have more fringe on show than Nicki Minaj tonight, having left EIGHT of their best players at home. Indeed, it certainly should be a straightforward win, but this is the Champions League and stranger things have happened. Or have they? Let's go.

It's matchday three in Group C and victory here would send Atletico, the 2013 runners-up, well on their way into the knockouts. They're second in the group, three behind Benfica and two clear of Astana and Galatasaray. But with the latter facing the high-flying Portuguese side tonight, it's not unlikely that Diego Simeone and co could be five points clear in their push for a last-16 berth.

As for Astana, well, it's unlikely they'll amount to much in Group C. They're not reaching the knockout phase. Possible? Yep. Probable? Nope. You'd sooner see Arsenal beat Bayern Munich. Scratch that - you'd sooner see Boris Johnson handing-off a child in a jovial game of rugby. Scratch that too - you'd sooner see...ah flip it. It just won't happen, folks.

Team news? Okay stay tuned. I've just seen the visitors' first XI and, well, let's just say it's a good thing for me, and indeed the people of Kazakhstan, that this is a text commentary. They've got big names, but more of the Jan Venegoor of Hesselink variety and not the Lionel messi variety.

ATLETI XI: Oblak, Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Siqueira; Gabi, Tiago, Saul, Carrasco; Griezmann, Martinez

ASTANA XI: Erić, Akhmetov, Beysebekov, Ilić, Postnikov, Zhukov, Kéthévoama, Muzhikov, Dedechko, Schetkin, Kabananga

ATLETI SUBS: Giminez, Filipe Luis, Koke, Oliver Torres, Correa, Torres

ASTANA SUBS: Loginovski, Pikalkin, Kulbekov, Kozhamberdy

Right, let's get these big names out of the way first and start with the visitors. I can tell you that Junior Kabananga leads the line. Foxi Kéthévoama and Aleksei Schetkin line up on both flanks in a five-man midfield, with Georgi Zhukov, Serikzhan Muzhikov and Denys Dedechko in the middle of that. Further back, you'll find Yeldos Akhmetov and Abzal Beysebekov at left and right-back respectively, while Branko Ilić and Evgeni Postnikov stationed in front of Nenad Eric between the sticks.

On to the hosts now and Jackson Martinez, who could have had a double hat-trick in the 2-1 defeat by Benfica, spearheads the attack, with Antoine Griezmann in support behind him. Koke and Yannick Carrasco line up on both wings, with Gabi and Tiago in the middle. Stefan Savic comes in to partner Diego Godin in defence, while Guilherme Siqueira displaces Filipe Luis at left-back. Juanfran continues at the opposite side, with Jan Oblak in goal once more. Strong team. Good to see.

Maybe it's just me being romantic, but what's the point of entering the Champions League if you're going to throw it? Astana came through THREE qualification ties to sit at the big table, and now they don't feel like eating anything. It's a big, big shame. Cynically, you wonder if they're just happy with the estimated £25m windfall that comes with reaching the group stages, rather than the prestige? Who knows.

Incidentally, it is also the first time that Kazakhstan have EVER been represented in the Champions League. Like, ever. Here is Stanimir Stoilov justifying his squad, speaking to UEFA.com: "We've left eight players in Astana because we have an important match in the Kazakh Premier League [on Sunday]. We have brought 14 players who are able to play top-class football."

We didn't see the interview, but you wonder if he used the phrase "top-class football" without laughing quite hard. Big, big shame in my opinion. It's also over 4,000 miles from Astana to Madrid, so hopefully not many fans bothered making the trip.

In the likely absence of a competitive match, what can we look out for tonight then? Well, Fernando Torres has been stuck on 99 Atletico goals for quite a number of weeks now. Will he reach the century tonight? Let's hope so for his sake. To say he's had a rough few years would be an understatement. It's been rougher than a female darts player for the lad since, say, 2011, when he joined Chelsea. This would be a nice moment for him.

Torres is, of course, benched tonight, with Martinez leading the attack. It's a big night for him. He hasn't really set the place alight since his £25m move from Porto, and he missed a hatful in that defeat by Benfica, but there's a good chance for him to get amongst the goals tonight. A very, very good chance, in fact.

DID YOU KNOW? Astana have two goals in Group C, following their 2-2 draw with Galatasaray, but both were own goals! They haven't scored a goal themselves and, well, that's unlikely to change tonight.

PREDICTION! On that note, let's try to yank a prediction from this one, shall we? Okay. 4-0 Atletico, with Jackson Martinez and Griezmann scoring two apiece. We're about 18 minutes from showtime, my friends.

Let's see what the weird and wacky world of Twitter is saying about this one.

Joseph fancies Atleti's summer recruits to make their mark on this one. Even if they do, though, little be read into their performance by virtue of the disparity in quality.


At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a rollercoaster, but it's actually the Atleti bench and few can think that there'll be any twists or turns tonight.


Five minutes to go!


KICKOFF: And we're off in the Spanish capital, my friends. Astana, draped in yellow, get us underway. Let's go.

It's a scrappy first few minutes, but Atletico completely in control. Sigueira drives into the box now as Griezmann swings a leg at it from outside the box, but it's blocked.

SHOT! This isn't far away at all, and it's Jackson Martinez, who turns Postnikov before thrashing over the bar with his left foot. Very close to the opener.

Good defending from Postnikov this time as he reads Siqueira's intentions and cuts out the left-back's pull back for Martinez. Would've been a goal there if not for the left-back.

SHOT! Astana, to their credit, have had one or two attempts, and this one initially looked dangerous as Kéthévoama's long-range effort glides over the bar.

Atletico are passing the Kazakhstanis to death now, with Griezmann ultimately crossing in for Martinez but it's over the Colombian's head. They haven't been brilliant inside this first 11 minutes or so; slightly pedestrian.

Unlucky from Martinez here as he plays an eye-of-the-needle ball for overlapping left-back Siqueira, who is so close to reaching it but Astana's right-back does well. The visitors are very defensive, though.

CLOSE! Wow. What a goal this would've been. It's a supreme bit of improvisation from Griezmann, who executes a overhead from Godin's flick-on and it's narrowly over the crossbar. He turns around and winces at how close it was. Better from the hosts, who have looked dangerous from corners.

CLOSE! Siqueira has been up and down like a promiscuous woman's under garments, and he drills a brilliant cross into the danger zone now but it's got a wee bit too much pace on it for Martinez.

GOAL! Atletico 1-0 Astana (Saul Niguez)

They've finally found the breakthrough, and it's Saul, whose exquisite flick beats Nenad Eric following Yannick Carrasco's brilliant low cross. It's been coming.

OFFSIDE GOAL! Oh lord. Jackson scores, and it's ruled out for offside, but how he missed the earlier one is amazing. It's a free header, from point-blank range, but he doesn't get the connection on it. He's still got enough time to smash home, but Griezmann is flagged offside.

GOAL! Atletico Madrid 2-0 Astana (Jackson Martinez)

Well, he atones for that error, does Jackson. Astana fail to deal with a cross into the box, and Mr Martinez has time to turn and fire a left-footed shot through a sea of bodies. Keeper should've done better.

Astana have been useless but what do we expect? They're like lambs to the slaughter, but their coach has put them on the conveyor belt with his lineup. It'll be three or four before the break. I'm certain of it.

The visitors, albeit getting thrashed, have been better in recent minutes. They've been a little more organised and Atletico toiling a little it has to be said. Not much has happened in the last few minutes. Astana won't win, or even draw, but they can still come out of here with a bit of respect.

SAVE! Nenad Eric pulls off a very decent save to keep out Martinez's point-blank header, though the Colombian, again, should've scored.

SAVE! Another decent save as Eric keeps out Griezmann's header following a slick cross from Martinez. Looks like we're heading into the break with just the two goals.

HALF TIME: Atletico 2-0 Astana

So, that's it for one half. It's been easy for the hosts, who have barely got out of fourth gear. They're in total control. Saul Niguez's brilliant flick put them ahead, before Jackson Martinez's turn-and-shot from 12 yards saw them double the lead. Deserved? Absolutely. Astana have done nothing but defend - and defend quite badly. They've lined up with FIVE centre-halves at times, with both of their wingers effectively operating as full-backs too. It's basically a seven-man defence.

KICKOFF: One sub to tell you about as Gabriel Torres replaces Tiago. Atletico kick us back off.

BOOKING: It's as you were by way of possession and Akhmetov goes through Griezmann for a shortcut now and he's booked.

SHOT! Saul Niguez drags one wide from outside the box, but he should've played in Martinez, who was playing on the shoulder of the last defender and just waiting to be played in.

Almost an excellent ball in from Oliver Torres, with Griezmann lurking, but one of the men in yellow did well to get it away. I can't say who because, well, I don't have a clue who it was. This is because their defence has no structure.

CHANCE! This is probably as close as Astana will come, as Kabananga finds himself through on goal after an error from Savic, but his first touch is horrendous and Oblak makes the save.

CHANCE! At the other end, it should be three as Carrasco, who's been brilliant, cuts inside his marker well, but his angled drive is straight at Eric.

GOAL! Atletico Madrid 3-0 Astana (Oliver Torres)

This is a brilliant finish from the 20-year-old. Gabi picks up a loose ball before driving at goal and playing in the youngster on the right-hand side. Torres takes one touch and cleverly dinks over Nenad Eric. Supreme finish.

SUB: Jackson makes way for Fernando Torres, who will look for his 100th Atletico goal. He's got 24 minutes to get it. Can he? Let's see.

CHANCE! Should be 4-0 as Oliver Torres runs beyond the Astana defence, but he's caught in two minds whether to pass or shoot, with Fernando Torres to his right, but he shoots and misses.

Should any travelling fans be reimbursed for this, by the club? I think so. Imagine travelling 4,000 miles not only to see a third-string side, but an uberly-defensive third-string side. It's madness.

SAVE! That was the moment for Torres, who is denied his 100th goal as he tries to clip it over Eric, but he stays big and knocks it away. Torres, who's been on 99 for a good few weeks now, looks like he has just found that his mate is going out with his sister. He looks disgusted.

Ten minutes to go but Atletico look determined to seal a fourth. It's been a very poor game if we're honest. Goals aren't everything, my friends.

Just five minutes to go now and there's really very, very little to note. It's gone flatter than a desk. Both sets of players have seen enough. They just want this to finish.

Atletico 4-0 Astana (Own goal)

That's that then. Dedechko adds a fourth for the hosts as he slides a Correa cross past his own goalkeeper.

FULL TIME: Atletico Madrid 4-0 Astana

Well, that's it. So poor in the end, despite the goals. Astana were truly abysmal and made this match very, very tough to watch. That's us! Cheers for tuning into our live text commentary and we'll see you again next time.

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Atletico Madrid's coach Diego Simeone looks on prior to kick-off in the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Chelsea on April 22, 2014
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