Hercules routed Atletico Madrid 4-1 with four first-half goals to close the 18th round of the Spanish league on Monday.
Jorge “Tote” Lopez, Nelson Valdez, Olivier Thombert and David Trezeguet all scored before halftime as a toothless Atletico seemingly had their sights set on tomorrow’s Copa del Rey match against Real Madrid.
Jose Antonio Reyes grabbed one back for Atletico with one minute to play.
“We have obligation to look like men in three days,” Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores said, adding that his team must ask their fans for forgiveness after the loss.
HERCULES ON FORM
Hercules’ fourth straight victory at Rico Perez stadium lifted the promoted side into 11th place, five points behind sixth-place Atletico, which is seven points off the Champions League positions.
Tote scored the 11th-minute opener when he slotted the ball inside the right post.
Atletico was sluggish in defense and soon fell two goals behind when Valdez curled a shot from outside the area into the left corner of De Gea’s goal in the 23rd for the Paraguyan’s seventh goal of the season.
“We gave away the first two goals,” Sanchez Flores said. “From there it was tough to come back.”
Thombert added Hercules’ third in the 32rd rising above Atletico defender Diego Godin to head home a cross from Francisco Pena and Trezeguet’s right-foot shot completed the demolition a minute before halftime. The former France striker has scored nine goals, all at home.
Hercules came close to a fifth goal when Matias Fritlzer’s long strike rattled the left post in the 57th and De Gea almost spilled Sendoa Aguirre’s strike across his goal line in the 69th.
Atletico striker Diego Forlan came on as a second-half substitute before Reyes scored one for the visitors.
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