Diego Costa back with a bang for Atletico Madrid in Cup rout
Former Chelsea striker scores on return to Spanish club after coming off the bench in 4-0 Copa del Rey rout of Lleida Esportiu
Diego Costa scored for Atletico Madrid just five minutes into a typically eventful return as the club cruised to a 4-0 win at Lleida Esportiu in the Spanish Copa del Rey.
Costa, who rejoined from Chelsea in September but could not play until the transfer window opened this month, came on as a 64th-minute substitute and swept home Atletico’s third goal in the 69th minute in the first leg of a last 16 tie.
“I’m really happy to feel like a footballer again and play once more with Atletico Madrid. It was very important for me,” Costa said.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to my second spell with Atletico. I was given the opportunity to play again and I had the chance to score a goal. That makes me even happier.”
Spain international Costa started the move that led to his goal, driving forward before moving the ball wide, allowing Juanfran to whip in a low cross that Costa clipped past Lleida keeper David Oliveros.
Costa appeared to have injured himself stretching to score the goal, but carried on and finished the game.
“Costa’s return has filled us with enthusiasm,” said Atletico coach Diego Simeone. “He brings speed, strength and physicality, which is what we expected of him.”
Two goals in four first-half minutes from Diego Godin and Fernando Torres set Atletico up for the comfortable win away to third-tier Lleida, with Godin heading home a drilled free-kick after 33 minutes and Torres doubling the lead soon after, just about staying onside to tap home Kevin Gameiro’s low cross.
Costa’s fellow sub Antoine Griezmann completed the rout in the final seconds, his deflected free-kick sailing past Oliveros giving Simeone’s side a seemingly unassailable lead ahead of next week’s second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.