Griezzi fires Atletico Madrid to Europa League glory

Jo Caldwell
May 18, 2018

The loss of their skipper sucked some of the life from Marseille's previously spirited display and Griezmann's second, four minutes after the restart, felt like being the match victor.

Things got worse for Marseille when Payet, their captain and most influential player who had been struggling with a hamstring problem ahead of the game, came off crying just after the half-hour.

Torres has supported Atletico since he was five years old and joined their academy when he was a child, making his first-team debut at the age of 17 in 2001 when they were in Spain's second division.

After taking his tally to 29 goals this season, Griezmann paid tribute to coach Diego Simeone and his team.

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That paved the way for Griezmann to take centre stage, Marseille failing to truly threaten again until the latter stages when substitute Konstantinos Mitroglou hit the post with a header.

Gabi then wrapped up the scoring late on, and celebrated like a man who would prefer to forget he called this competition "s--" when his side dropped into it from the Champions League last December.

It is Griezmann's first major title with Atletico, and a fitting way to bow out if he leaves at the season's end, with Barcelona tipped as his next destination.

The 27-year-old France worldwide has been heavily linked with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano this summer and showed his class as Atleti ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in Lyon.

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In more recent times, Barca have pushed for the signing of Griezmann so much so that Atletico reported their La Liga rivals to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

Marseille were then punished for sloppy play as they fell behind in the 21st minute. But when Anguissa's error was anticipated and pounced upon by Gabi, the locally born, boyhood Lyon fan was super cool as he tricked his France teammate Mandanda and rolled the ball nervelessly into the net. We didn't start the Champions League very well (this time) but reinvented ourselves in this competition. "I'm going to be grateful to this team always". Their fans made a real racket inside the stadium pre-game, smuggled-in flares and firecrackers included.

It looked like they might just catch the Spanish side off guard and they nearly did but Payet's defence-splitting through ball couldn't be finished off by Valere Germain. Conceding a second so soon after half-time realistically meant all was over bar the singing, which continued right until the end.

Madrid's win in Lyon brings the tally of European trophies won by Spanish sides to eight of the past nine - Manchester United's triumph in the 2017 edition of this tournament is the only exception.

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