Europa League final: Griezmann wins trophy for Atletico
Antoine Griezmann demonstrated what he described as his “cold-blooded” streak in scoring two goals as Atletico Madrid crushed Marseille 3-0 in the final of the Europa League.
It was a one-sided final, with the French side unable to match the crisp, confident passing of their Spanish opponents, one of the most consistent clubs in European competition in recent years.
Runners-up in the Champions League in 2014 and 2016, Atletico won the Europa League in 2010 and 2012 and they looked odds-on to make it a hat-trick of titles from early in this season’s final in Lyon.
Perhaps the outcome would have been different if Marseille’s Valere Germain had buried an early chance. Perhaps, perhaps. But he didn’t and thereafter it was all Atletico as Marseille suffered the hammer blow of losing skipper Dimitri Payet to injury on the half-hour mark.
The former West Ham midfielder hobbled off in tears, the thigh niggle that has hampered him for weeks now questioning his participation in next month’s World Cup.
France coach Didier Deschamps names his 23-man squad later today and top of his list will be Griezmann. The star of the 2016 European Championships – he won the tournament’s Golden Boot for scoring most goals – has returned to top form of late and he ruthlessly ended Marseille’s hopes of winning their first continental title since their shock Champions League win in 1993.
He scored his first on 21 minutes, seizing on an error from Andre Zambo Anguissa to slide the ball into the net, and he scored his second shortly after the break, exchanging passes with Koke and then chipping the ball over the onrushing Steve Mandanda.
Marseille conjured one chance to get back in the game but Kostas Mitroglou’s header hit the post and Atletico then made it 3-0 when captain Gabi scored on 89 minutes.
Describing himself as “happy” with the outcome, Griezmann continued: “I have been working to experience such a moment for many years. I left home when I was 14 for that. We will celebrate. My family is here. I don’t know how to describe the finish, perhaps cold-blooded.”
Watching it all from the stand was Atletico manager Diego Simeone, banished from the touchline after his dismissal against Arsenal in the semi-final.