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HomeSports NewsGriezmann fires Atletico into Champions League | The Express Tribune

Griezmann fires Atletico into Champions League | The Express Tribune



MADRID:

Antoine Griezmann secured Champions League qualification for Atletico Madrid with a hat-trick in a 3-0 triumph at Getafe on Wednesday in La Liga.

Diego Simeone’s side ensured they will finish in the top four and therefore reach Europe’s top competition for the 12th consecutive season.

Inspired by France international Griezmann, the Rojiblancos romped to victory in the Madrid suburbs at Getafe’s Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

Atletico, fourth, trail Girona by two points and now lead fifth-place Athletic Bilbao by 11 as the Basque side fell to a 2-1 defeat at struggling Celta Vigo.

Despite a strong start and becoming the only side in Spain to beat new champions Real Madrid this season, Atletico’s season began to crumble.

Athletic ousted them in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and Borussia Dortmund knocked them out in the Champions League quarters.

Atletico knew a victory would guarantee them a return to the competition next season and the superb Griezmann did not give Getafe, 10th, a chance.

“It’s been a lot of years getting into the Champions League, which is something to value, but with the team we have and the talent we have, and the coach we have, it’s something we have to do,” Griezmann told Movistar.

The 33-year-old forward had netted only twice in his previous 13 La Liga appearances, with concerns emerging over his form, but he put them to bed with his second treble of the campaign.

“Without my team-mates I am nothing,” continued Griezmann.

“My ankle was annoying me a lot (in recent weeks)… working with the physios and pushing hard, the pain has gone and I can enjoy myself.”

Atletico’s all-time leading goalscorer opened the scoring in the 27th minute when he ran on to Rodrigo De Paul’s scooped pass and beat Getafe stopper David Soria with a low effort.

Griezmann converted his second before half-time from Angel Correa’s low pass across the area, with the goal given after a VAR review after it had been flagged offside.

The former Real Sociedad striker netted again to complete his hat-trick after the break, finishing a sharp Atletico move.

The visitors played the ball out neatly from the back and Lino threaded through Griezmann, who prodded home at the near post for his 16th league goal of the season.

“The boys made a great effort, we knew the importance of having a good game today and having our place in the Champions League booked,” said Simeone.

“Good work as a team, in defence and attack.”

Celta’s comeback win over Athletic leaves Cadiz’s hopes of survival hanging by a thread despite their late 1-0 win at Sevilla.

Williot Swedberg and Hugo Alvarez’s goals helped Celta triumph at Balaidos to move five points clear of the drop zone, after Alex Berenguer had sent Copa del Rey winners Athletic ahead with a goal direct from a corner.

Sergio Guardiola’s 96th-minute winner for 18th place Cadiz means they are four points from safety with two matches remaining.



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