'Kid to a legend': Torres bids Atletico farewell with two goals
Madrid (AFP) –
Fernando Torres scored twice on an emotional final outing for Atletico Madrid on Sunday but was denied a victorious farewell as Eibar snatched a 2-2 draw.
Torres struck in each half much to the delight of his adoring fans at the Wanda Metropolitano but a Lucas Hernandez red card helped Eibar claim a point on the last day of the La Liga season.
Atletico finish the campaign second in the table, Eibar sit 10th.
Enrique Garcia had given the visitors a surprise early lead and Ruben Pena capitalised on the numerical advantage by equalising late on, but this match was always going to be about Torres.
On his 404th appearance for Atletico, his goals were his 128th and 129th for the club, coming 17 years after his first, scored against Albacete in the Segunda Division in June 2001.
Torres has yet to declare his next move but this display -- speedy, sharp and clinical -- will have caught the eye of many interested parties.
In truth, the 34-year-old's fairytale ending had already arrived on Wednesday, when he lifted his first Atleti trophy after the triumphant Europa League final against Marseille.
But this double added some extra sparkle in front of his own supporters, who stayed on after the final whistle to watch the team form a guard of honour as the striker left the pitch.
He had walked out the same way, with his three children, through a corridor formed by the Eibar players as Atletico's fans displayed the words, 'De Nino A Leyenda', meaning 'from a kid to a legend'.
Outside the ground, fans had posed for photos next to Torres life-size cut-outs and peered at message boards, detailing the player's greatest moments.
This, after all, was a boyhood Atletico fan, who first watched his team with his grandfather as a child, and who, when he returned to the club for a second spell in 2015, drew a crowd of more than 40,000 just for his presentation.
He missed an early chance, and it was a good one too, after nicking the ball away from Eibar's David Lomban, only to drag the finish wide of the far post.
Eibar threatened to spoil the party when Garcia gave them the lead in the 35th minute. Stefan Savic attempted to clear but connected only with the air and Garcia snuck in ahead of Juanfran to slide home.
Atletico were enjoying the lion's share of possession, however, and Torres' moment came two minutes before the interval.
Saul's clipped ball over the top caught Eibar napping and Angel Correa might have shot, with only the goalkeeper to beat. Instead he squared right for Torres, who celebrated by kissing the badge and applauding the fans.
His second on the hour required more of his own work. Diego Costa, sent on with Antoine Griezmann a minute before, played the through-ball but Torres showed speed to outrun Paulo Oliveira and a cool head to finish past Marko Dmitrovic.
This time he ran into the fans behind the goal, for which he picked up a yellow card. Three minutes later, referee Alfonso Alvarez produced another booking, for Hernandez, who had already been cautioned when he obstructed Ivan Alejo and Atleti were down to 10.
Eibar were level within seven minutes, Pena unleashing a superb strike from the edge of the area that Jan Oblak could only palm into the top corner.
Atleti pushed for a winner late on but the spoils were shared as the tributes to Torres continued after the final whistle.
© 2018 AFP