Diego Costa continued his Champions League hot streak with a brace as Atletico Madrid booked their place in the last eight for the first time in 17 years with a thumping 4-1 home win over AC Milan.
The Spain international took his tally to seven goals in five outings in the competition with the strikes that started and finished the scoring on a night when Diego Simeone's side romped to a 5-1 success on aggregate.
The hosts deserved their emphatic victory for another thrilling display at the Vicente Calderon but it wasn't without some scares after Costa had got them off to a flyer with a volley on the stretch.
Milan recovered well from the early setback and pulled level on the night when Kaka arrived at the far post to guide home Andrea Poli's exquisite right-wing cross just shy of the half hour.
The Brazilian international has recaptured some of his old magic since returning to the Rossoneri, but he was left ruing a wasteful finish soon after when he thumped a free header over the top.
It would prove a costly miss as Atletico restored their advantage on 40 minutes when Arda Turan's speculative volley took a wicked deflection off Adil Rami and looped into the opposite corner.
The hosts should have made it three on the counter just after the break when Gabi struck the woodwork before they finally made sure of victory when the impressive Raul Garcia rose highest to thump home a header 20 minutes from time.
And Costa rubbed salt in Milan's wounds late on when he took Jose Sosa's pass in his stride and rifled a low shot into the far corner.
PRE-MATCH: Costa and Balotelli return - Diego Costa is one of a key trio for Atletico who return after serving suspension at the weekend. Milan's talisman is also involved from the start after shrugging off the shoulder injury sustained in the first leg to play in the Rossoneri's weekend defeat at Udinese.
3' - GOAL: Atletico 1-0 Milan. A dream start for Atletico and it's that man Costa once again. A ball in from the right is met by the new Spain international with a volley on the stretch that he guides into the corner.
27' - GOAL: Atletico 1-1 Milan. A superb move ends with Kaka meeting Poli's right-wing cross with a firm far-post header. Milan are back in it. (Atletico lead 2-1 on aggregate).
36' MILAN CHANCE - Kaka rises to meet another pinpoint cross from the right from Adel Taarabt but this time he powers his header over the top. It should be 2-1.
40' GOAL: Atletico 2-1 Milan. Atleti regain the lead with a huge slice of luck as Arda Turan's volley from the edge of the box takes a big deflection and flies into the other corner.
42' ATLETICO CHANCE - SO CLOSE! Raul Garcia almost makes it three with a sensational scissor kick that arrows inches past the upright. It deserved a goal. Wonderful technique.
49' OFF THE POST - A lightning break from a Milan corner sees Costa charge at the Rossoneri's rearguard and tee up Gabi who sees his shot crash off the near post.
71' GOAL - Atletico 3-1 Milan. Raul Garcia rises highest to power a header beyond Abbiati from a right-wing free kick. It's 4-1 on aggregate and surely all over now.
72' OFF THE BAR - Robinho almost responds immediately with a shot on the run that clips the bar and bounces clear of danger for the Spanish side.
85' GOAL! Atletico 4-1 Milan. Costa rubs salt in those Milan wounds by picking up a pass from Sosa and drilling a low shot into the far corner. (5-1 on agg).
Diego Costa's opening goal was the second fastest goal conceded by AC Milan in the Champions League (behind Jari Litmanen's in 1994). (via Opta Paolo)
Balotelli has never scored or assisted a goal in the knockout stages of the Champions League (seven appearances).
Atletico Madrid have won all four of their Champions League home games this season, scoring 13 goals and conceding only two.
Atletico Madrid are one of only two teams still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, alongside Real Madrid.
This is only the third time that Atletico Madrid have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League after 1996/97 (quarter finalists) and 2008/09 (last 16).
AC Milan have been knocked out in the last 16 in five of their last six Champions League campaigns.
(Stats courtesy of Opta Joe)
TALKING POINT: Can Atletico go all the way? Diego Simeone's side are challenging the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga this season and have shown they have the perfect combination of strong defence allied with a clinical attack. In Costa they have one of Europe's deadliest strikers and if he's on his game anything could be possible. With 16 home wins from their last 17 in UEFA competitions, they are a formidable proposition at the Calderon.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid): The striker tormented Milan throughout both legs of the tie, netting three times overall. The Spain international has got everything in his locker and was a constant menace in addition to his brace on the night.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois 7, Godin 7, Filipe Luis 7, Juanfran 7, Miranda 7, Mario Suarez 7, Koke 8, Raul Garcia 8, Arda Turan 7, Gabi 7, Diego Costa 9. Subs: Rodriguez 6, Sosa 6, Diego 5.
AC Milan: Abbiati 6, Rami 6, Abate 6, Bonera 6, Essien 6, Poli 7, Emanuelson 6, N. de Jong 6, Kaka 6, Taarabt 5, Balotelli 5. Subs: Robinho 6, Muntari 6, Pazzini 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
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- Atletico Madrid
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