Griezmann at the double as Atletico recover to outclass Girona

rugby13 April 2024 15:09| © Reuters
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Antoine Griezmann © Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Atletico Madrid overcame an early scare to crush Girona 3-1 in a top-of-the-table LaLiga clash on Saturday.

It was another setback for Girona, who led the LaLiga table for several weeks in the first half of the season but have ran out of steam recently, losing five consecutive matches away from home.

With the win, fourth-placed Atletico moved to 61 points, four behind Girona in third.

Barcelona, who play at Cadiz later on Saturday, are second on 67 points. Real Madrid are top on 75 points.

At a sunny Metropolitano stadium, the noisy home crowd had been left stunned after LaLiga top-scorer Artem Dovbyk netted his 17th goal of the season with a tap-in from a counter-attack to give the visitors the lead in the fourth minute.

But Atletico took control of the match, dominated possession and equalised with Griezmann from the penalty spot in the 34th minute, after a handball inside the six-yard-box by Girona defender Miguel Gutierrez.

In a game marked by contentious refereeing decisions, Girona complained they were denied a penalty of their own in the final minutes of the first half for a strong challenge by defender Reinildo on Savinho inside the area.

Six minutes into stoppage time before the break, Alvaro Morata kept the ball in on the byline and crossed to Angel Correa who nodded a towering header into the far corner to give Atletico the lead.

The hosts doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half when Jhon Solis sliced a clearance and Griezmann pounced on the loose ball inside the six-yard-box to unleash an unstoppable strike that went in off the crossbar.

Atletico will now turn their attention to Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal clash at Borussia Dortmund, after earning a 2-1 in first leg at home.

"First it was very important to win (against Girona) because we need to qualify to the Champions League next season and that goes through (a top-four finish) in the league," Griezmann told DAZN.

"Now we want to progress to the (Champions League) semi-finals and will travel to Germany with an extra-boost in confidence after this great effort."