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Atlético ease past Udinese to go joint top

Club Atlético de Madrid 4-0 Udinese Calcio
An Adrián López double helped Gregorio Manzano's side exact revenge on their matchday three conquerors and go joint top of Group I.

Atlético ease past Udinese to go joint top
Atlético ease past Udinese to go joint top ©UEFA.com

An Adrián López double helped Club Atlético de Madrid bounce back from defeat by Udinese Calcio last time out to move level on points with their opponents at the top of UEFA Europa League Group I.

Los Colchoneros were made to pay when the teams met a fortnight ago – Francesco Guidolin's side triumphing 2-0 in Udine – yet with Adrián firing the hosts into a two-goal lead after 12 minutes, there was little chance of a repeat of that outcome. Diego's second of the tournament put the 2010 winners 3-0 up at the break before Falcao added a fourth in the 67th minute.

Prior to the encounter, Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovič had said Atlético's attackers would force him to "work a lot", and his prediction quickly proved accurate. The Slovenian international found himself picking the ball out of his net as early as the seventh minute, in fact, as Adrián latched on to Arda Turan's pass and finished coolly.

Shortly afterwards, the industrious Falcao found Antonio López with a clever back-heel and the defender's cross from the left bounced up for Adrián, who expertly directed his header back across the visiting goalkeeper to double the lead.

Things got worse for the Serie A outfit as the half progressed, with Atlético dominating possession and making the game safe eight minutes before the break as Diego profited from Adrián's unselfishness. The forward raced on to another Falcao back-heel and opted to roll a pass to the Brazilian, who slid in the third.

Unbeaten in Group I prior to this encounter, Udinese looked to reduce the arrears after the restart and they almost managed it when Almen Abdi's fierce shot from distance was tipped onto the crossbar by Thibaut Courtois. That was as good as it got for the visitors, whose fate was sealed when Falcao embarked on a diagonal run into the area before firing high past Handanovič from close range.