The Griezmann Show – Atletico Madrid are Europa League ChampionsMay 17, 2018
The Simeone-way coupled with Griezmann goals and Payet’s injury ensured the Europa League trophy belongs to Atletico Madrid.
The game started in a very bizarre fashion as Marseille kicked the ball out of touch straight from kick off. In the third minute, Diego Costa chased a long ball but Mandanda was there to catch the ball.
The first opportunity fell to Marseille, Germain was put through by Payet but he sent it over the bar from just ten yards out. He would have been disappointed at not making the Atletico keeper Oblak make a save. Marseille was in control of the game but hardly troubled the Atletico keeper.
In the ninth minute, Diego Costa barged over Marseille defender Rami, and the referee had some words for the Spanish international. Bouna Sarr had an effort from 20 yards out after great work from Ocampos but his effort went wide of Oblak’s post.
Oblak made his first save in the 19th minute after Payet tried a shot from 25 yards out. Marseille attacked Atletico over and over and then, finally, it happened, a mistake by Anguissa. It enabled Gabi to steal the ball and slip Griezmann in. The Frenchman slotted past Mandanda to give the Spanish team the lead and make it 0-1.
Griezmann opened the scoring in the 21st minute
The first caution came in the 24th minute after Atletico right-back Vrsaljko fouled Ocampos. Marseille nearly levelled up from the resulting free-kick only for Ocampos header to land on the roof of the Atletico net.
A perfect example of how Simeone drills his team was in the 31st minute when Ocampos went pass Gabi, only for him to be covered by four defenders who recovered the ball.
Disaster struck in the 33rd minute as Marseille lost their talisman Dimitri Payet to what seems to be a hamstring injury. The skipper was absolutely devastated and in tears as he walked off the pitch.
The second booking was for Jordan Amavi for a high tackle on Atletico’s Sime Vrsaljko. Koke took the free kick but Godin’s header was way over the bar.
Diego Costa who had been quiet was almost played in by Griezmann only for Sarr to cut out the pass. Marseille suffered a major scare as their top Scorer Florian Thauvin went down injured after being caught by Lucas Hernandez as he tried to clear the ball. At halftime, Atletico was leading Marseille 0-1 courtesy of the Griezmann goal.
The second half began with Atletico making a change with JuanFran replacing the already booked Vrsaljko, while Marseille fans were pleased as Thauvin was still on after the injury scare just before the half-time whistle.
The first chance of the second half went to the Spanish side, Diego Costa finding Angel Correa who passed Rami. Unfortunately, Sarr blocked his attempted shot.
Griezmann got his second goal after a great pass from Koke allowed him to chip the ball over Steve Mandanda. It was an amazing finish from the French international and most of the crowd seemed to think it was game over.
It almost immediately got worse as Adil Rami came close to scoring an own goal as he tried to get the ball away from Diego Costa. Atletico was in complete control at this point. Griezmann had another shot deflected wide, while Godin heads over from the resulting corner.
Marseille sent on former Tottenham winger Njie in the 55th minute for Ocampos who had enjoyed a good first half.
Marseille did not show up in the second half
Luiz Gustavo was lucky not to be booked after he kicked Griezmann to the ground. Griezmann took the resulting free kick, Saul headed the ball but it deflected wide off Gustavo’s arm. It was judged accidental and so only a corner was given.
In the 74th minute, Kostas Mitroglou replaced German for the French side and two minutes later Luiz Gustavo was finally booked after one of his many fouls in the game.
Ten minutes to go and Marseille came close to scoring through substitute Mitroglou. Oblak was beaten by his header, but it bounced out of danger off the inside of the post. It could have been game on.
Atletico brought on Thomas Partey for Angel Correa in the final minutes and the game was sealed by Captain Gabi. Griezmann played an amazing pass to Costa who held it up and found Saul who passed to Gabi. Gabi happily smashed it past Mandanda into the corner of the net.
Fernando Torres came on to a roar of support for Atletico hero Griezmann in the final seconds of the game.
Finally, the whistle blew, making Atletico Madrid the Europa League Champions, their third in nine years.