Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Griezmann scores twice as Atletico top Europa League

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Atletico's Antoine Griezmann (right) scores past Marseille's goalkeeper Steve Mandanda during the Europa League final at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, Lyon, France yesterday.

LYON, France (AP):

Striker Antoine Griezmann punished sloppy Marseille with two expertly taken goals as Atletico Madrid won the Europa League for the third time with a resounding 3-0 victory in yesterday's final.

Marseille were going for a second European trophy, 25 years after winning the Champions League, but had no answer to Griezmann's mobility and finishing. Captain Gabi capped off the victory with a fine finish in the last minute after being set up by Koke.

Several of Marseille's players were in tears after the final whistle, undone by a player who was turned down by several French clubs when he was a youth because of his diminutive stature.

Griezmann pounced in the 21st minute, slotting coolly into the bottom left corner after being set up by midfielder Gabi's first-time pass. Marseille's woeful defending contributed as midfielder Zambo Anguissa failed to control a needlessly casual pass out from goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and the loose ball bounced straight to Gabi.

The irrepressible Griezmann started and finished the move for his second four minutes into the second half.

 

Well played

 

He athletically won a high ball in midfield and quickly swapped passes with Koke before gliding into the penalty area unchallenged and delicately clipping the ball over the onrushing Mandanda.

He celebrated both goals with an energetic celebratory dance from popular video game Fortnite, although he couldn't do it as well the second time around as he was quickly mobbed by teammates.

Marseille began with urgency, but striker Valere Germain wasted a great chance to take an early lead when shot over after being played clear through on goal by Dimitri Payet's slick pass after three minutes. Center half Adil Rami shot just wide moments later as Marseille's positive start initially upset Atletico's rhythm in midfield.

The French side's hopes faded after Payet went off injured in the 31st minute with what appeared to a recurrence of a thigh injury. Payet was in tears when he went off and was consoled by teammates on the eve of France coach Didier Deschamps naming his World Cup squad.

Before the game, Marseille fans poured off the trams close to the stadium singing derogatory songs about Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas amid ongoing tensions between the clubs and their presidents.

They vastly outnumbered Atletico's fans inside the Stade de Lyon and made a nuisance of themselves throughout.

With the win, Atletico added to the Europa League trophies from 2010 and 2012. They also lost Champions League finals to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016, and the gulf in experience was evident.