The Europa League trophy is coming to the Spain capital, after Atletico Madrid thrashed Marseille in the final played at Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Antoine Griezmann was yet again the decisive factor as he helped his side by scoring a brace.
Atletico were in control from the beginning
Although the Rojiblancos were left without their charismatic manager Diego Simeone on the touchline, it didn’t affect them all that much; the squad knew what they had to do and they did so in great style by controlling nearly every aspect of the game.
Marseille defenders made the greatest efforts to mark Atletico’s main attacking threat Antoine Griezmann, but it was in vain, per online sportsbooks in France. They lost the ball – in their half – which found its way to Gabi who then quickly passed it on to the Frenchman and a few moments later he opened the scoring already in the 21st minute of the final with a secure finish.
Marseille were betting all their chips in the final on their captain Dimitri Payet to perform magic, but all their hopes of that were dashed when he went down in the 31st minute, clutching onto his injured thigh. The French side were forced to substitute him and were immediately visibly disoriented for the remainder of the game; they really felt the full extent of the loss of their greatest player in the team.
It’s no surprise Griezmann is highly sought after by top European clubs
In the second half, things only got worse for Marseille as Griezmann once again found the back of the net – Koke provided the assist – merely 4 minutes after the break, giving Atletico a 2-0 lead. In the 89th minute of the final, Koke assisted one more time, only this time it was Gabi who struck the third and final goal against the French side. Fernando Torres came on as a late substitute replacing the final’s star Griezmann, which gave him a chance to clock minutes in the game that gave the Rojiblancos their third Europa League trophy – the other two were won in 2010 and 2012.
<img src="/images/newsimages/atletico-griezmann.png" title="Atletico Griezmann Goal" alt="Griezmann goal against OM"
Griezmann once again showcased his massive value by scoring a brace in the final. (Photo: The Guardian)
Griezmann’s future at Wanda Metropolitano remains uncertain at this stage, as it is believed that Barcelona have been circling around him for some time now, while Manchester United have also expressed their willingness to sign the Frenchman and pair him up with Paul Pogba, as the two are known to be good friends off the pitch. Especially now after his great performances in the Europa League final, top sides all across the continent will be lining up for his signature.
Atletico Madrid boss Simeone highlighted his disappointed by missing out on two Champions League trophies in recent memory, after reaching the final in both 2014 and 2016, but missing out on them both times to cross town rivals Real Madrid, per online sportsbooks in Spain. So finally lifting a European cup – albeit from a second-tier competition – means a great deal to him, as it’s a culmination of hard work.
“This season was a tough one,” said the 48-year-old Argentine. “But this Europa League represents more than the Europa League trophy – it shows the value of hard work and persistence, or keeping at it and working hard. We lost two Champions League finals (in the recent past). We didn’t start the Champions League very well (this time) but reinvented ourselves in this competition. All that hard work will bear fruit in the end.”