Atletico Madrid crushes Granada
BARCELONA, Spain (AP)
Radamel Falcao scored his 23rd and 24th goals of the Spanish league season to help Atletico Madrid ease past Granada 5-0 on Sunday.
Also, Real Sociedad striker Imanol Agirretxe scored two early goals to cement the Basque side's hold on fourth place with a 2-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano.
Atletico had its way with the hapless Granada to break a mini-slump of two straight draws, with young attacking midfielder Jorge ''Koke'' Resurrecion setting up three of his team's goals with expertly placed crosses.
Koke set a long pass for Diego Costa to head the ball into the net and grab the lead just four minutes into the match at Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Falcao then finished off a well-orchestrated counterattack by racing forward to fire Diego Costa's low pass into top of the net and double the advantage in the 28th.
The Colombia striker made it 3-0 two minutes after halftime when he muscled by his marker to deflect Koke's free kick into the net. Only Barcelona's Lionel Messi with 43 goals and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo with 29 have scored more goals in Spain's topflight this season.
Atletico kept pouring it on with Raul Garcia scoring from Koke's free kick in the 63rd, before Filipe Luis chipped the goalkeeper in the 70th.
Atletico moved level on points with Madrid in second place before the defending champions visit Athletic Bilbao later Sunday. Barcelona visits Real Zaragoza later with a 13-point lead at the top of the standings.
Granada never showed any signs of life as its winless run reached eight games, leaving it clinging to safety above the drop zone by just one point.
In a meeting between the two revelations of the season, Sociedad's electric attack decided the match before the quarter-hour mark as Spain coach Vicente del Bosque watched from the stands at Vallecas Stadium.
A long goal kick by Claudio Bravo led to left back Alberto de la Bella charging forward to cross for Agirretxe, who slotted in the sixth-minute opener.
Agirretxe tapped in a cross from Xavi Prieto in the 14th after Vallecano was caught out abandoning its area after defending a corner.
Sociedad rose four points clear of Malaga and Valencia. It has a league-best record of just one loss in its last 21 games.
''I hope Real's future is a bright one, playing in the Champions League or Europa League,'' said Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier, whose team is in Spain's last Champions League spot. ''We have seven games left and it will be complicated, but if we continue forward with this mentality it is possible.''