On Wednesday night, Atletico Madrid recorded a 3-0 win over Marseille in Lyon to win the Europa League. It was the third time the men from the Spanish capital have lifted the UEFA Cup/Europa League. Only compatriots Sevilla have won it more times, having won the trophy on three occasions.
Antoine Griezmann the star of the show
Atletico headed into this clash favourites to win the trophy for many reasons. The fact that their defence is the best in Europe or that they are such a hard team to beat were two major factors. However, the one that matters was that Atletico had a certain Antoine Griezmann in their squad.
The highly-rated French forward capitalised on an error to open the scoring in the first half before scoring the second goal in the second half, this time chipping the ball over the advancing Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. The goal was like a dagger to the hearts of the French team. Griezmann was not finished yet, though, as he helped set up a third goal late on for Atletico captain Gabi.
His intelligent movement and coolness in front of goal were once again highly evident. Griezmann seems to be the man for the big moment for Atletico. However, reports persist that the forward could be joining Barcelona this summer. The Catalan giants are the favourites to sign the forward. However, Premier League Manchester United are also being heavily linked with the forward. If he does leave, then his performance in this clash is a good leaving present, even if Atleti still has to play Eibar on Sunday in their final La Liga game.
Marseille struggled to break down Atletico
Marseille actually made a bright start to the game. Striker Valere Germain missed a golden opportunity that could have changed the complexion of the game. After Diego Simeone’s side weathered an early Marseille storm, a familiar pattern developed. Atleti were compact and hit the French side on the break. As soon as the Spanish side took the lead, it looked unlikely Marseille would get back into the game, despite a prolific campaign.
The loss of France playmaker Dmitri Payet in the first half was also a massive moment for OM. The former West Ham player left the field in tears. With the World Cup a month away, Payet will be hoping that his injury is not a serious one. The attacking midfielder was one of the stars for Les Bleus on home soil at Euro 2016.
What is next for these teams?
Both teams still have a game each left in their domestic leagues. Atletico will finish second in La Liga if they pick up a draw at home against Eibar on Sunday. That would mean finishing ahead of illustrious rivals Real Madrid. Diego Simeone’s side will be looking to challenge for the Champions League trophy next season after a number of near misses in recent years.
Marseille are still in the fight for a top-three place in Ligue One and a Champions League spot. However, OM currently occupy the Europa League spot heading into Saturday night’s clash with Amiens. Rudi Garcia’s side needs to win and hope results elsewhere go for them to finish in the Champions League spots.
Will Antoine Griezmann leave Atletico Madrid this summer?