Antoine Griezmann scored a brilliant hat-trick and Diego Costa celebrated his 100th LaLiga appearance for Atletico Madrid with a goal as Sevilla were battered 5-2 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
In one of LaLiga's more testy historical rivalries, it was Diego Simeone's men that turned on the style to earn revenge for a Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat in January.
Griezmann and Costa were in typically lethal form, but Sevilla were on more than one occasion the architects of their own downfall and a moment of unwarranted generosity set the Atleti ball rolling.
Sergio Rico and Ever Banega conspired to play Sevilla into trouble, allowing Costa to celebrate a third Liga goal since re-joining from Chelsea.
As comical as that goal was, the second was textbook brilliance from Griezmann, whose long-range curling strike three minutes before the break effectively ended the game as a contest given Atleti had conceded just nine LaLiga goals prior to this match.
Griezmann stroked home his second from the penalty spot after Rico felled Costa in the area, and more poor defending – this time from Gabriel Mercado – allowed the France star to tee up Koke for a simple fourth.
He rounded off his hat-trick late on after already hitting the post and, despite a late rally that saw Pablo Sarabia and Nolito add some respectability for Sevilla, Atleti earned a fifth straight league win, and seventh in eight games, to move within seven points of leaders Barcelona.
Atleti's normally watertight defence was carved open in just the third minute by Jesus Navas' throughball and Jan Oblak brilliantly denied Luis Muriel one-on-one
Sevilla – who lost Navas to a calf injury 15 minutes later – were undone by a moment of madness, though.
A minute after rightfully being booked for play acting following a tangle with Clement Lenglet, Costa pick-pocketed a dawdling Banega – who was played into trouble by Rico – and swiftly fired into the bottom-left corner.
7 - Diego Costa has been directly involved in seven goals in his nine games for Atletico this season in all competitions (five goals and two assists). Roar. pic.twitter.com/sLeuvuOkjA — OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 25, 2018
Costa was denied a second by the legs of Rico but a moment of great individual skill from Griezmann doubled Atleti's lead.
The France star picked up a loose ball and bent a 20-yard effort into the top-left corner on his weaker right foot.
Sevilla's hopes of an unlikely comeback were over six minutes after the break when Costa lifted the ball over Rico and was taken out by the home goalkeeper, leaving Griezmann to coolly stroke the resulting penalty into the bottom-right corner.
Another woeful piece of defending stretched Atleti's lead. Mercado's careless backpass was seized on by Griezmann who, with the angle against him, had the wherewithal to backheel into the path of Koke to poke into the unguarded goal.
Griezmann then smashed an effort against the post but, after former Pizjuan stars Kevin Gameiro and Vitolo - whose move to Atleti led to Sevilla launching legal action – were greeted by a chorus of boos, he tapped in from Saul's sliding pass cross the face of goal to celebrate his third.
Sarabia converted Wissam Ben Yedder's pass from close range and Nolito brilliantly drilled through a crowded penalty area as Sevilla mounted a late rally, which included Sarabia seeing a penalty claim for a coming together with Oblak waved away, but it was too little too late for the hosts.
Key Opta stats:
- Antoine Griezmann is the second LaLiga player to reach double figures for both goals (16) and assists (10) this season in all competitions, after Lionel Messi (30 and 15).
- Diego Costa has scored 11 goals against Sevilla in all competitions, against no side has he scored more.
- Costa has been directly involved in seven goals in his nine games for Atletico this season in all competitions (five goals and two assists).
- Griezmann scored his first goal from outside box this season in LaLiga. He has scored 15 goals from outside the box in LaLiga but this is the first with his right foot.
- Atletico won their first penalty in LaLiga since April 2017 (two against Osasuna) and Griezmann is the first Atletico player to score a penalty goal in the competition since September 2016 (Fernando Torres against Sporting).