Atletico Madrid was so poor in the first half against the fourth division visitor Sant Andreu that a shock Copa del Rey elimination wasn’t a far-fetched possibility.
But three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second period guided Atletico’s second-string team to a 4-0 victory at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium 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 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.
Substitute Lemar went on at halftime and was key for Atletico, opening the scoring with a right-footed shot from outside the area. Kalinic added a header and Correa produced a fine finish with the outside of his right foot.
Atletico Madrid 4
(Lemar 48, Kalinic 53, Correa 55, Vitolo 81)
Sant Andreu 0
(Munir 18, D. Suarez 26, 70, Malcolm 43)
Cultural Leonesa 1
(Toko Ekambi 23, 30, 36, 47, Bacca 45, 83-pen, Gerard 67, Raba 89)