First Half Flurry Boosts Atletico’s Top Four Hope

A first-half flurry helped Atletico Madrid thrash Real Valladolid and stay in the top four in the La Liga table.

Alvaro Morata, Antoine Griezmann and Mario Hermoso all struck before the break for Diego Simeone’s side, who sit 10 points behind leaders Barcelona.

The victory, just Simeone’s second in seven games, also included a debut for recent signing Memphis Depay.

READ MORE: Atletico Madrid Sign Memphis Depay From Barcelona

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 to keep pressure on the top two in La Liga.

The victory, a fifth in succession in La Liga and ninth straight in all competitions, drew Sociedad level on points with second-place Real Madrid and three points off Barcelona, though having played twice more.

Atletico’s 3-0 victory was secured through three goals scored in 10 minutes. Griezmann set up Morata for a slotted finish before scoring himself with a backheel. Hermoso completed the scoring with a tap-in after his header was parried away.