Torres cheers Atletico days after head clash

Above: Atletico striker Fernando Torres waving to fans before their match against Valencia at Vicente Calderon Stadium. He is on sick leave after suffering a head injury when he and Deportivo's Alex Bergantinos collided last Thursday. Right: Antoine
Atletico striker Fernando Torres waving to fans before their match against Valencia at Vicente Calderon Stadium. He is on sick leave after suffering a head injury when he and Deportivo’s Alex Bergantinos collided last Thursday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Above: Atletico striker Fernando Torres waving to fans before their match against Valencia at Vicente Calderon Stadium. He is on sick leave after suffering a head injury when he and Deportivo's Alex Bergantinos collided last Thursday. Right: Antoine
Antoine Griezmann displays good control despite tight marking in the game which Atletico won 3-0.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MADRID • A smiling Fernando Torres watched just four days on from a sickening blow to the head, as Antoine Griezmann struck twice in Atletico Madrid's 3-0 win over Valencia in the Spanish Primera Liga on Sunday.

The 32-year-old, a lifelong Atletico fan, was knocked unconscious during his side's 1-1 draw at Deportivo La Coruna on Thursday and spent the night in hospital, although he suffered no serious injury.

He was hailed with a banner reading "the Calderon loves you" before kick-off and was soon on his feet in celebration, as Griezmann finished off a fine team move after just 10 minutes.

Kevin Gameiro's deflected effort doubled Atletico's lead three minutes into the second half, before Griezmann completed the scoring seven minutes from time.

Victory moved Atletico back a point clear of Sociedad and into fourth spot (49 points) in La Liga, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona.

"We are happy he (Torres) is here with us," Griezmann told BeIN Sports Spain. "Hopefully he can return as quickly as possible because we need him."

Atletico coach Diego Simeone hailed his team's performance and said that they could have been more than 1-0 up by half-time.

"It was a fantastic performance, we played very well physically and managed the game well," the Argentinian said. "We made a statement of authority in the first half and could have scored more."

Valencia (29 points) showed little sign of their recent revival to climb clear of the relegation zone, but Simone Zaza did momentarily threaten an equaliser when he flashed a header just wide.

Coach Salvador "Voro" Gonzalez, however, defended his team and said that Atletico were just far superior at home.

"Atletico Madrid beat us, but it is not because we lack attitude," the Spaniard said at his post-match conference. "They defended very well, and they are a difficult team to beat at home and especially when they take the lead."

Valencia remain 13th in the La Liga table and Voro added that they will "keep working" despite the defeat.

"We are going to continue working. Saturday we have an important game (against Gijon) and we have to continue trying to win the maximum (number) of possible matches," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'Torres cheers Atletico days after head clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe