Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Atletico Madrid crush Zaragoza in La Liga

AFP , MADRID

Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan celebrates his goal against Zaragoza in the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Atletico Madrid got their painful Barcelona defeat out of their system by crushing European rivals Real Zaragoza 4-0 on Sunday.

A first league goal from Luis Garcia, signed from Liverpool in the summer, a brace from Argentine Maxi Rodriguez and a Diego Forlan strike clinched a comfortable win as Atletico moved up to sixth.

It was sweet revenge for Atletico as Zaragoza beat them home and away last season and ousted them for sixth place and the final UEFA Cup spot.

Before the match Atletico coach Javier Aguirre complained that his South American stars were shattered after traveling on international duty but there was no sign of jetlag as they set the early pace.

With just 10 minutes gone Forlan picked out a precise pass for Garcia who made no mistake with a calm side-footed finish.

Forlan, bought as a replacement for Fernando Torres, then got on the scoresheet himself with a first-time lob on 34 minutes for his third goal of the season.

Rodriguez then stole the show by scoring twice and was delighted with the result.

"We played well and two goals is obviously great for me," Rodriguez said. "We are a good team and we showed that today."

Intertoto Cup winners Atletico are in UEFA Cup action on Thursday when they travel to Locomotive Moscow for their first group match.

Getafe are also in UEFA Cup action on Thursday against Tottenham Hotspur and they bolstered their confidence by registering their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Murcia on Sunday.

Getafe, cup finalists and a creditable ninth last season, have struggled since losing coach Bernd Schuster to Real Madrid in the summer but the Madrid-based side took a step in the right direction with a much-needed win, although they still lie in the relegation zone.

Substitute Kepa, who was later sent off, opened the scoring in the 54th minute and Francisco Casero added a second five minutes later to clinch the points.

Getafe, managed by former Barcelona and Real great Michael Laudrup, now travel to London on Thursday with renewed confidence and hope to spring a surprise result in the capital.

Laudrup revealed that he may rest some players for the Tottenham match with the league their top priority.

"The league has the priority at the moment," Laudrup said. "We have to think of the next league match against Santander on Sunday and then against Bilbao."

"That does not mean we are going to give up in Thursday's match but there will be changes so that the players are fresh for Sunday," he said.

Elsewhere last season's second division champions Valladolid continue to struggle in the top-flight, crashing to a 2-1 loss against Athletic Bilbao.

Artiz Aduriz scored twice for Bilbao after eight and 31 minutes to leave Valladolid second from bottom with promoted Levante, who have a meagre one point, propping up the table.

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