Atletico Madrid were so poor in the first half against fourth-division visitor Sant Andreu that a shock Copa del Rey elimination wasn’t a far-fetched possibility on Wednesday.
Barcelona and Sevilla also beat lower division clubs, while Villarreal recorded an 8-0 rout of second tier Almeria with four goals by Cameroon striker Karl Toko-Ekambi.
Thomas Lemar scored for Atletico in the 48th minute, Nikola Kalinic in the 53rd, Angel Correa in the 55th and Victor “Vitolo” Machin in the 81st to secure Diego Simeone’s team a place in the last 16 following a 5-0 aggregate victory.
“We struggled in the first half. We weren’t able to play with quick transitions,” said Simeone after his 400th Atletico match. “Everything changed in the second half. After the first goal the team played more freely.”
Atletico was without Diego Costa because of injury, while Antoine Griezmann and several other regular starters were rested by Simeone, who was banned from the bench as he served the second of a three-game suspension following a rant in a Copa match against Sevilla last season.