Another glimmering Antoine Griezmann performance carried Atlético Madrid to victory Sunday afternoon, as he scored one goal and set up another in a 3-0 home win over Celta Vigo.
Atlético consolidated second place in LaLiga and stayed seven points ahead of Real Madrid on the strength of a Griezmann goal on the stroke of halftime and second half strikes from Vitolo and Ángel Correa. Atleti picked up another win at the Wanda Metropolitano — their 10th, along with four draws — and last conceded a goal there on Jan. 20.
The opening minutes were marked by very little excitement. Neither side registered a shot in the first 20 minutes — Celta had most of the ball and played through the middle while Atlético used Šime Vrsaljko crosses as their main attacking outlet. Atleti’s best opportunity in the first 30 minutes was from a Koke corner, where Diego Godín hit a header that flashed wide of Rubén Blanco’s net. Minutes later, Celta had a clear chance open up through an Iago Aspas free kick, but Sergi Gómez saw his shot blocked in front of goal. Aspas later curled a shot well wide after Godín lost the ball in his own box.
Despite the slow start, Atlético would get the last laugh before halftime. A Koke corner kick went off José Giménez’s head in front of goal and bounced to an onside Griezmann. The Frenchman pulled back the ball, shimmied around Rubén and left back Jonny before picking out the top corner with his right foot. The cracking finish put Atlético up 1-0 at the intermission.
Unzué’s men came out flying in the second half, and that very positive spell culminated in Nemanja Radoja hitting woodwork from an Emre Mor cross five minutes before the hour. The Galicians would come to rue that miss, as Atlético went straight down the pitch and added a second. An expertly-weighted reverse pass from Griezmann set up Vitolo to chip in his first league goal for Atlético. Ángel Correa added a third in short order, as he bulldozed (relatively speaking) through Celta’s center backs, calmly reclaimed possession after his initial shot was deflected and slotted his seventh goal of the league season.
Celta effectively waved the white flag after that and Atlético called off the dogs, as Simeone elected to give Griezmann more rest (and to prevent him picking up a fifth yellow card). Costa headed straight for the dressing room following his substitution, and he appeared to be feeling still the effects of a Sergi Gómez stamp on the foot. His status for the midweek trip to Moscow is up in the air for now.
Atlético: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Giménez, Godín, Lucas; Saúl, Gabi, Koke, Vitolo (Correa, 58’); Griezmann (Gameiro, 69’), Costa (Torres, 79’).
Goals: Griezmann 44’, Vitolo 56’, Correa 63’
Celta Vigo: Rubén; Mallo, Sergi Gómez (Cabral, 77’), Roncaglia, Jonny; Lobotka, Radoja (Méndez, 66’), Hernández; Aspas (Boyé, 72), Maxi Gómez, Mor.