Martinez on target as Atletico hit four past Astana

Published 10/21/2015, 6:27 PM EDT
Atletico Madrid’s Jackson Martinez (L) celebrates next to team mate Saul Niguez after scoring a goal against Astana during their Champions League group C soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Medina


MADRID (Reuters) – Jackson Martinez hit his first Champions League goal for Atletico Madrid as they swept aside Astana 4-0 in Group C at the Calderon on Wednesday.

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A scrappy strike from the edge of the area which took a deflection off defender Denis Dedechko after 29 minutes will boost the confidence of Martinez who has struggled to live up to his 35 million-euro ($39.7 million) transfer fee from Porto.

Atletico Madrid’s Jackson Martinez (11) scores a goal against Astana’s goalkeeper Nenad Eric during their Champions League group C soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Saul Niguez opened the scoring with a flick from the edge of the six-yard box after 22 minutes and Oliver Torres delicately chipped the ball over keeper Nenad Eric after 63 minutes.

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A Juanfran Torres cross was turned into his own goal by Dedechko to complete the rout a minute from time.

Atletico Madrid have six points from three games in the group while Kazakhstan’s Astana have one.

Diego Simeone’s side had plenty of possession but their passing through the middle of the pitch was not precise early on and most danger came from set-plays.

Atletico Madrid’s coach Diego Simeone gives instructions during their Champions League group C soccer match against Astana at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Astana coach Stanimir Stoilov left eight players behind in Kazakhstan with their priority to keep them fresh for their bid to win their domestic league.

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Atletico’s Diego Godin went close with several headers from corners and it was no surprise that the breakthrough came from another corner, played short to Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and his cross was clipped in at the near post by Saul.

Atletico Madrid’s Oliver Torres reacts during their Champions League group C soccer match against Astana at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The Spaniards began to probe the Astana area before Martinez got the second and they continued to pressure with Martinez again going close with a header and Carrasco had a shot well-saved.

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Torres scored with a sweet finish having been set up by Gabi Fernandez and Dedechko completed an unfortunate night with an own goal.

(Reporting by Tim Hanlon in Barcelona, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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