Atletico Madrid moved to within touching distance of the Champions League last 16 with a 3-0 win over Austria Vienna at the Ernst-Happel Stadion on Tuesday.

Diego Simeone's men had the three points virtually wrapped up within the first 20 minutes as Raul Garcia tapped home the opener before Diego Costa ran half the length of the field to slot home and double the advantage.

And Costa rounded off the scoring just after the interval as he guided home Emiliano Insua's cross.

Victory means Atletico, allied to Zenit St Petersburg's 1-0 win away to Porto, are well in control of Group G on nine points, five points clear of the Russians in second.

However, Simeone was quick to play down suggestions that Atletico could be serious candidates to lift the European Cup for the first time come May.

"We know the difficulties that come with playing in the Champions League, especially combining three competitions with our squad," he said.

"It is important to interpret the game well on the field and we hope to seal our qualification at home in a few days."

Atletico were handed a huge boost before the game as Costa was passed fit and he was surprisingly partnered by Garcia with David Villa dropping to the bench.

And Simeone was quick to praise the work of the club's medical staff to get Costa ready, as well as the contribution of the unsung Garcia.

"The doctors work very well with the players.

"We knew we had to impose our rhythm on them and Raul Garcia brings us a lot of strength.

"Koke and Arda (Turan) also provide a lot of service to Diego."

Simeone was vindicated with his team selection just eight minutes in when Koke released left-back Filipe Luis and he rolled the ball across goal to leave Garcia with the simplest of finishes.

Costa had missed Atletico's opening two wins in the group due to a suspension hanging over from last season and La Liga's top scorer didn't waste time in making his impression on Europe's premier club competition.

He collected the ball inside his own half, drove forward past one defender and then sent an unerring low finish past Heinz Lindner into the far corner.

Koke and Costa could easily have added to the tally before half-time as they fired off target, but the hosts could also count themselves unlucky not to have registered before the break as Philipp Hosiner volleyed off the bar at the back post.

Insua was forced into action at half-time in place of the injured Luis and the Argentine had an impact just eight minutes after the restart as he crossed for Costa to fire home his 12th goal of the season.

With the game won, Simeone then withdrew Costa to keep him fresh for Sunday's league game against Real Betis and, without the Brazilian-born striker, Atletico seemed more content to preserve what they had than go in search of a fourth goal.

 

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