Falcao smashes three in Atletico romp

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao scored a hat trick Monday as his team thrashed Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the teams’ first meeting since the Europa League final last season.

Radamel Falcao again underlined his status as one of football’s most lethal strikers by scoring a hat-trick in Atletico’s convincing 4-0 home win over Bilbao.

The Colombian, who has regularly been linked with a move to the Premier League, opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a clever chip before doubling the lead three minutes before half-time with an acrobatic finish.

He completed his hat-trick just before the hour mark by converting from the penalty spot after Carlos Gurpegi was penalised for handball.

Atletico came close to a fourth goal five minutes later when Mario Suarez’s header from a corner was tipped on to the bar by Gorka Iraizoz before bouncing out off the post.

The fourth goal did arrive six minutes from time when substitute Tiago, who had replaced Falcao moments earlier, rifled home from the edge of the box.

Victor Perez, meanwhile, scored a penalty in each half as promoted Valladolid claimed a 2-0 home win over 10-man Levante.

The opening goal arrived on 38 minutes when Perez converted from the spot after Levante defender David Navarro was shown a second yellow card for handball.

Perez struck again three minutes after half-time as he kept his cool from 12 yards following Papakouli Diop’s foul on Omar.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.