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Antoine Griezmann scored twice on Wednesday as Atletico Madrid beat Marseille 3-0 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais to lift their third UEFA Europa League title.
Griezmann capitalised on a mistake from Marseille defender Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa before calmly tucking home after 21 minutes, then latched on to a pass from Koke to dink the ball over Steve Mandanda four minutes into the second half.
Gabi added a third in the 89th minute, picking out the bottom corner after finding himself in space to seal the win.
Griezmann Hands Marseille the L
Griezmann put on a clinical display in Lyon, unlike compatriot Valere Germain, who missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put Marseille ahead inside five minutes when he ballooned over the bar while one-on-one with Jan Oblak.
The Atleti man made no such mistake at the other end, though, when Anguissa failed to control goalkeeper Steve Mandanda’s pass. Griezmann pounced then celebrated with his customary “Take the L” dance from Fortnite:
B/R Football @brfootball
Antoine Griezmann leaves his mark on the Europa League final! https://t.co/3I7BBswbOv
As the Europa League’s official Twitter account noted, the Frenchman has played a starring role in Atletico’s European campaign:
Griezmann has marked every stage with a goal 👏👏👏
Last 32 ✅
Last 16 ✅
#UELfinal ✅ https://t.co/vJqwCy5iEt
He found the net again—his 29th goal of the season in all competitions—with a fine finish early in the second half to double their lead.
The striker is primed to star at the World Cup in Russia this summer, and France’s hopes will rest largely on his shoulders.
Dimitri Payet’s Exit Killed Off Marseille, and It Could Be a Blow for France
At the start of the match, it quickly became clear that Marseille’s biggest chance of pulling off an upset relied on captain Dimitri Payet.
The playmaker showed plenty of intent early on—his sublime pass deserved a far better finish from Germain in the opening minutes—and if anyone was going to unlock Atletico’s resolute defence, it was him.
Payet played despite concerns over a thigh problem ahead of the match, but he lasted just half an hour before limping off:
The Independent‘s Miguel Delaney saw Marseille’s chances evaporate with his exit:
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
Had just been thinking, at least in a one-off game, even against an Atletico defence, if Payet is playing, there’s always a chance of something.
Indeed, the Ligue 1 outfit barely troubled Los Rojiblancos from that point on.
The injury could prove to be an even bigger blow to Payet with the World Cup fast approaching, per football writer Tom Williams:
Tom Williams @tomwfootball
What a pity for Payet. Wonder what that means for his World Cup chances. Deschamps announces his squad tomorrow night.
France aren’t quite as reliant on Payet for creativity, as they also have the likes of Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe to call on, but if he’s not able to feature, Les Bleus will nevertheless miss his inventiveness and technique.
UEFA Need to Ditch the Pre-Match Entertainment
UEFA have made a habit of putting on pre-match entertainment ahead of their finals in recent years, and once again their musical act caused kick-off to be delayed.
The governing body still haven’t learned their lesson, despite widespread condemnation of delays to the 2016 UEFA Champions League and 2017 Champions League finals because of pre-match performances from Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas, respectively.
This year, fans were treated—or more accurately, subjected—to French DJ duo Ofenbach, to the same effect, per BT Sport’s Lynsey Hipgrave:
Lynsey Hipgrave @lynseyhipgrave1
Ofenbach are dragging this out!! Players supposed to be walking now #EuropaLeagueFinal https://t.co/glUPEK7j6k
Football writer Jonathan Wilson and blogger Tim Stillman also took issue with the spectacle:
Jonathan Wilson @jonawils
Another final kicking off late thanks to pre-match nonsense. God, I hate modernity.
Tim Stillman @Stillberto
Who is this pre match entertainment actually for?
“So, how was the final? Must’ve been amazing!”
“Yeah, but what it was really missing was the Blazin’ Squad.”
English singer Dua Lipa is set to perform ahead of this year’s Champions League final on May 26.
If recent history is anything to go by, expect the kick-off of the showpiece to be later than billed.
Atletico host Eibar in the final match of their domestic campaign on Sunday, in which a point will be enough to guarantee them second place in La Liga ahead of Real Madrid, while Marseille take on Amiens in Ligue 1 on Saturday as they look to leapfrog into Champions League qualification.