Having recently received a vote of confidence from the club president, Gregorio Manzano's men responded with a weak performance against the dominant hosts
A brace from Fernando Llorente and a header from Toquero allowed Athletic Bilbao to easily brush aside Atletico Madrid with an impressive 3-0 victory on Thursday evening at San Mames.
Atletico took the initiative early on with the use of some slick, one-touch, passing to take control of the midfield. After latching onto a long pass down the left, Radamel Falcao almost opened scoring when he cut into the middle, skipping by Fernando Amorebieta with a classy step-over, to force a fine save out of Gorka Iraizoz with a shot to the far post.
Athletic responded by completely dominating possession for the final 15 minutes of the half. Nearly making Atletico pay for their shaky defensive work, Oscar De Marcos forced a fine save out of Thibault Courtois when the goalkeeper’s defence failed to intercept a pass, leaving the Spaniard in an isolated position.
In the second half, De Marcos threatened Courtois’ goal again after a looping cross from the left found the forward in 18-yard box but he could only head wide.
After centre-back Joao Miranda lost possession in a dangerous area, a cross from inside the area found Llorente, who with a weak shot, found the back of the net after a deflection from Filipe Luis sent the ball gingerly bouncing past Courtois to open the scoring.
On their next counterattack down the right, the hosts doubled their advantage when a swinging cross found the head of Llorente, who elegantly hit the ball past Courtois to add to his tally for the night.
To cap off the night, a free kick from the left found an open Toquero, who headed the ball in a backward motion to once again add to the growing scoreline and seal a 3-0 victory for his side.
With a loss, Atletico are now winless in five matches as they continue to drift further down the standings and Gregorio Manzano’s position as coach becomes more threatened. Athletic now find themselves in eighth place with 12 points.