• Griezmann among goals again as Atletico eases past Celta


    MADRID: In-form Antoine Griezmann scored one goal and made another as Atletico Madrid cruised to a 3-0 win over Celta Vigo in La Liga on Sunday (Monday in Manila), consolidating their grip on second place.

    Griezmann opened the scoring just before the break at the Wanda Metropolitano with his 16th goal of the season in La Liga, his 11th in the last nine games.

    The France star, who continues to be linked with a summer move to Barcelona, then set up Vitolo to make it 2-0 before Angel Correa, on as a substitute, wrapped up the points for Diego Simeone’s side.

    It was a seventh win in eight La Liga outings for Atletico, the exception being last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Barcelona.

    Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann (right) challenges Celta Vigo’s Slovak milfielder Stanislav Lobotka (left) and Celta Vigo’s Chilean midfielder Pedro Pablo Hernandez during the Spanish league football match between Atletico Madrid and Celta Vigo at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid. AFP PHOTO

    As a result, the 2014 champions remain eight points behind league leaders Barca, but they are seven clear of Real Madrid in third. Celta are ninth, with 10 games remaining.

    Barcelona was 2-0 winners at Malaga on Saturday with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho on target, as Lionel Messi missed the game to attend the birth of his third child.

    Meanwhile, Real won 2-1 at Eibar thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo brace.

    “There is still a long way to go. We take things one game at a time and we will try to continue that way,” said Simeone of his side’s title chances.

    “My desire is to be in with a chance with five games left. Then we will be able to speak about something more.”

    Griezmann’s goal on Sunday came a minute before the break as he controlled the ball at the back post following a corner and showed some brilliant footwork to take a Celta defender out of the game before firing into the far corner.

    He turned provider in the 56th minute with a pass for Vitolo, who beat Ruben Blanco in the Celta goal with a clipped finish.

    Vitolo’s last three goals in La Liga have now been for three different teams — he previously netted for Sevilla and then scored for Las Palmas against Celta earlier this season.

    Correa came in for Vitolo just before the hour and got on the score sheet four minutes later, finishing low into the net after his initial effort had been blocked.

    It was Atletico’s second 3-0 win at home in four days after they beat Lokomotiv Moscow by the same scoreline in their Europa League last 16, first leg on Thursday.

    They head to Russia for the return this midweek, before visiting Villarreal next Sunday.

    Villarreal are sixth after a 2-0 win at struggling Las Palmas, secured thanks to a second-half Carlos Bacca strike and a stoppage-time Nicola Sansone penalty.

    Also on Sunday, Gerard Moreno got the winner, his 12th goal of the season, as Espanyol beat Real Sociedad 2-1, and Raul Garcia’s brace gave Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 win over Leganes.



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