Griezmann-inspired Atlético crushes Valencia

Antoine Griezmann pulled the strings for Atletico Madrid as they defeated a helpless Ruben Barajas Valencia 3-0 in La Liga on Saturday.

The French striker opened the scoring for the hosts at the Metropolitano and continued his own fine form with another fine performance in the heart of Diego Simeone’s side.

Yannick Carrasco doubled Atletico’s lead early in the second half and Thomas Lemar sealed the win with the Rojiblancos, third, six points clear of fourth-placed Real Sociedad after playing a game more.

The defeat leaves the ailing Los Che in 17th place, on 26 points, level with Getafe, 18th, who host Sevilla on Sunday.

Atletico recorded a fifth win in six La Liga games and consolidated their third place with a confident performance they couldn’t find in the first half of the season.

“Before the World Cup nothing was going for us and now everything is going well,” Atlético midfielder Marcos Llorente told DAZN.

“The team is happy and looking forward to continuing to win games and the goal is to finish as well as possible.

“We know we only have La Liga left so we will try to move up. Above us we have big teams, why not try to catch them?”

Memphis Depay missed two good early chances for Atletico before Griezmann broke through after 23 minutes.

Llorente charged forward and fed the striker and while his first touch was a fluke that seemed to bounce off his foot and set the ball up nicely, the second was a neat finish for his ninth league goal of the season.

Valencia thought they responded through Hugo Duro but his goal was ruled out by VAR for a foul by Dimitri Foulquier at the other end of the pitch.

– Atletico Walk –

The first half was intense and fairly even, but Atletico sauntered to victory in the second after Carrasco drove home from close range just after the break.

Griezmann threaded a beautiful pass for Alvaro Morata, who left Valencia defender Eray Comert in the dust and crossed for Lemar to go home.

“The team does very well when the group is good and the team competes the way it competes, it’s difficult to face it,” Simeone told DAZN.

“We could have done better in the finish, we created chances but didn’t have the determination to end the game. The goals came in the second half.

“We are happy with how the team is growing.”

Samuel Lino hit the post late for Valencia but they failed to find a consolation goal on another extremely worrying away day for Baraja’s side.

“We’re really down, we didn’t have a good game,” Valencia captain Jose Gaya told DAZN.

“The disallowed goal affected us. (The referee) didn’t consider it a foul and with VAR he changed the decision.”

The loss was Baraja’s third in five games since taking charge of the side he used to play for in February.

“We’re very disappointed. We’ve been the least recognizable in this game (as Valencia) since I’ve been here,” said Baraja.

– penalty trap –

Rayo Vallecano parted ways with Girona in a 2-2 draw after missing a penalty that Oscar Trejo tried to pass on to Isi Palazon.

Trejo saw an initial penalty saved by Paulo Gazzaniga but was allowed to take it again due to an interference from Girona.

On his second try, he put the ball down on the onrushing Palazon, who shot over the goal.

In 2016, Barcelona successfully completed the move in La Liga, with Lionel Messi passing a penalty to Luis Suarez who scored against Celta Vigo.

Trejo’s and Palazon’s miss brought back memories of Arsenal attempting the same move against Manchester City in the Premier League in 2005 when Robert Pires tried to pass through to Thierry Henry but botched the move.

The tie provisionally leaves Rayo in eighth place while Girona sits in 12th.

Celta Vigo won 3-1 at Espanyol, with talented midfielder Gabri Veiga scoring a fine goal to continue his fine form.


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