Antoine Griezmann stars as Atletico Madrid win Europa League

JJ Bull
Atletico Madrid celebrate winning the Europa League - Getty Images Europe

Antoine Griezmann was the star of the show on Wednesday night as he scored two goals - on what could be his last ever game in an Atletico Madrid shirt - to beat Marseille 3-0 and win the Europa League.

In a lively stadium set to a backdrop of flare smoke and a cacophony of sound from both sets of fans - though the Marseille supporters were particularly loud - Diego Simeone's side proved far too good for their opponents and dominated the match.

It could have been so different. Much like in the semi-finals against Arsenal, Atletico sat back and had to absorb a lot of pressure and Marseille started the better side, testing Jan Oblak early on and causing panic in the midfield. It nearly paid off. In the fourth minute, Valere Germain was put through on goal and with only the goalkeeper to beat from inside the box, got it all wrong and booted a wild shot high and wide. Atletico don't concede many chances.

Marseille kept coming but proved their own worst enemies. A simple pass by the goalkeeper Steve Mandanda - the same goalkeeper who proved so underwhelming at Crystal Palace - was horribly mis-controlled by André-Frank Anguissa, gifting Griezmann an open road to goal.

When he met Mandanda's gaze inside the area, Griezmann kept his composure, placing the ball the opposite side of Mandanda's dive to the delight of the Atletico supporters and the watching Simeone, banished to the stands for his antics during the semi-final.

Antoine Griezmann beats Steve Mandanda to score Atletico's second Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Almost immediately after that opener things got worse for Rudi Garcia's team as ex-West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet, who had just recovered from injury in time to make this match, went down with a problem. Having dragged his side to the final, he left the pitch in tears, devastated at being forced out of the match but also surely with a thought for France's World Cup squad, named on Thursday.

From that point on Atletico had the game in their complete control and never looked like giving it up. Simeone's side had lined up in their usual 4-4-2, filled the midfield and went into every 50/50 as though losing it would result in banishment to some horrible land by their ruthless manager.

For the grit, determination and aggression of Atletico's players they had equal amounts of skill, creativity and class. Another Marseille error, this time a failure to deal with a high ball from a throw-in, gave Koke the chance to play in Griezmann with a clever little flick. Once again the Frenchman kept his cool, dinking the ball over the goalkeeper and near-guaranteeing his team their third Europa League trophy.

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Marseille offered brief attempts to get back in the match, with Konstantinos Mitroglou (ex of Fulham) even managing to hit the post with a fantastic header as the minutes counted down, but Marseille knew they were finished long before they it was confirmed.

Griezmann then played the role of creator as the referee checked his watch, sending Diego Costa on the chase with a smart forward pass. Costa turned back, found Koke, who played in captain Gabi to drill a low shot into the bottom corner. The Atletico fans celebrated, the Marseille players visibly deflated.

There was a brief cameo appearance for Fernando Torres, who will leave Atletico at the end of the season. He replaced Griezmann after that third goal went in, ending a career started in Spain in which he captained Atletico at 18-years-old by finally winning his first European trophy with his boyhood club.

Whether it will prove to be Griezmann's last with Atletico is up in the air. He has potential suitors from around the world and after a performanceslike this would certainly improve every single one. Barcelona are said to be the most likely destination and if he does leave, the cycle will continue as Atletico look to unearth the next big thing. Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, Torres, Falcao and Griezmann have come and will go but on this sort of form, replacing Griezmann looks almost impossible.

10:02PM

Atletico's guard of honour for MArseille

Credit: AP

 

9:37PM

ATLETICO MADRID WIN THE EUROPA LEAGUE

Never in doubt. Simeone's side was absolutely brilliant there, Marseille couldn't get close. Why are they now playing awful dance music? Let the fans sing! 

9:36PM

90 mins +2

Hmmmm someone's managed to throw a firecracker onto the pitch and it explodes inside the box. Nobody seems to notice, but that isn't ideal. The ball goes out for a throw-in and Costa tries to boot it as high into the air as he can to the Atletico fans.

9:35PM

90 mins +1

Torres is on! He replaces Griezmann. Marseille look gutted. You can hear the sound of explosive things going off all around the stadium as fans throw flares and firecrackers.

9:33PM

GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!

Marseille 0 Atletico 3 (Gabi 89')

gabi goal

It's 3-0! Gabi finishes a fine Atletico move! Griezmann puts Costa behind the defence and into the channel, he passes inside, Koke taps it on and Gabi rifles the ball low into the corner.

9:32PM

88 mins

Partey is coming on to replace Correa for the final few minutes. Correa takes his time leaving the pitch. This game is done, sorry Marseille fans.

9:31PM

86 mins

Marseille still struggling to get out of their own defensive third... and Sarr has given it away outside the box! Atletico have men over and could easily score here! But Costa shoots from outside the box instead of playing in Griezmann in the box. 

Marseille break, get to the box and the ball sits up for N'Jie to hit! He doesn't take it on his left foot and instead jabs at it with his right foot. That's out for a throw-in.

9:28PM

83 mins

Woof! That's a solid hit by Amavi! The ball sits up nicely to smash and he puts his left foot through it on the volley. Too close to Oblak and Atletico survive again.

9:26PM

81 mins

MITROGLOU HITS THE POST! Where did that come from? The ball is put into the area and it's perfect for a striker - Mitroglou rises and wins the header, placing it towards the far corner. The goalkeeper is beaten but he watches the ball bounce back off the post and Godin clears.

9:24PM

80 mins

Marseille put themselves in danger with another poor pass and straight away the ball is pinged over to Griezmann. He tries to power a cross into the area but hits the first man. 

I wonder when they'll bring Fernando Torres on. This will be his last ever Atletico game, if he gets on the pitch. 

9:22PM

79 mins

N'Jie kicks out at Hernandez and is shown the yellow card. Not sure what that was about but it got very feisty for about 10 seconds then everything was fine again. Marseille haven't done anything in this half, it's been all Atletico.

9:21PM

77 mins

Gustavo catches Gabi with his arm while chasing the ball towards the corner. Gabi goes down way too easily to win the free-kick, Gustavo is booked. Robbie Savage says it's a clear foul but I'm not so sure.

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

9:19PM

75 mins

Germain off, Mitroglou on. That's another Premier League failure on show, almost as if managers in England should have a little more belief and patience with players who don't suddenly look like Ryan Giggs when they join in.

9:17PM

73 mins

Atletico still in total control of this game and working hard in the Marseille half to create chances. Griezmann is absolutely brilliant fun to watch in particular but some of the football by Simeone's side is superb.

9:14PM

70 mins

The referee has to tell the Marseille wall off for moving ahead of the line, successfully wasting vital seconds for Marseille. The free kick comes in and Saul is there! He connects with his head... but the ball's wide for a corner. That turns into another corner as Mandanda tips over the bar.

9:13PM

68 mins

Griezmann goes down as Gustavo swipes at his ankle from behind and it's a clear foul but no booking. I like the way Gustavo protests to the referee that nothing happened.

Koke lines up the free-kick.

9:10PM

66 mins

There's a rare mix-up in the Atletico defence and Marseille fans get a little excited for their side's corner. That doesn't last long but at least Marseille are moving the ball around nicely, even if Atletico are sitting with everyone behind the ball.

9:08PM

64 mins

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

9:07PM

62 mins

Atletico drop back into their deep defensive shape as Marseille keep the ball for a bit. The French side are beginning to show their frustration and I'd imagine there'll be a few yellow cards coming up over the next 20 minutes.

9:04PM

60 mins

It's relentless. As soon as an Atletico player loses the ball he and his teammates counter-press and win it back immediately, Marseille's players don't have time to think where to pass it next.

9:03PM

58 mins

Atletico's players go into challenges with real aggression. It's all fair but must be a nightmare to play against - whenever there's a 50/50 you know you're either going to lose or be in pain after.

9:01PM

56 mins

N'Jie is on for Marseille now.

8:57PM

54 mins

Atletico in total control here. Griezmann wins a corner with a deflected shot from range and goes over to take it. 

AND GODIN HEADS AT THE NEAR POST! Just wide! It hits the side-netting and Marseille have only just survived going three down!

8:56PM

52 mins

Oooocha. That was nearly an own goal by Rami! He clears the ball away from Diego Costa but it very nearly lands inside the far post with the goalkeeper beaten!

8:53PM

GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!

Marseille 0 Atletico 2 (Griezmann 49')

Brilliant! Griezmann makes it two for Atletico! It comes from a MArseille throw-in! Nobody really deals with it, it's headed forward and Griezmann is played in by Koke's smart pass and he dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Atletico should have this in the bag now.

8:53PM

48 mins

Atletico are winning the ball superbly, pressing in numbers and quickly closing down anyone on the ball. Marseille can't keep the ball! Correa rolls Rami with a lovely turn on the edge of the box but takes too many touches and loses the chance to shoot.

8:50PM

KICK OFF 2

We're back and it's raining now. Juanfran is on for Vrsaljko which has pleased me greatly, since I'm not sure I've ever spelt the latter's name correctly without checking it about three times. 

8:44PM

The flares

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

How do people smuggle these things into the stadium? I'm not trying to do it or anything, it just seems like so many are able to sneak fireworks into stadiums and you'd think it would be more difficult. 

Credit: AFP

 

8:41PM

Atletico's poor passing

 

8:34PM

HALF TIME

Atletico looked to have started that game poorly but have the lead and now look in control of the game. What can Marseille do without their creative genius Payet on the pitch?

8:34PM

45 mins

Thauvin has taken the full weight of Godin bouncing into his private area at full speed and hasn't enjoyed it. He's on the ground doing that snappy finger thing that Ali G used to do, used by footballers to denote pain. 

8:31PM

43 mins

Marseille are counter-pressing really well to try and win the ball back off Atletico near their own box. On the ball they're showing superb close control and various little skills to try and find an opening. Atletico are pretty comfortable though, as the masters of 1-0 leads Marseille are in trouble here.

8:29PM

41 mins

Atletico fans have let off more flares and the whole pitch is covered in smoke again.

8:26PM

38 mins

Amavi is booked for a challenge by the corner flag on Vrsaljko and that seems harsh. He's slightly mistimed it and because they were moving so quickly he was always likely to send him flying. I have no idea how that's hurt the Atletico man so much either.

8:23PM

36 mins

Incidentally, France's World Cup squad is announced tomorrow. Payet's having a bad night, poor guy.

The referee is making some odd decisions, giving free-kicks for very little, mostly to Atletico. 

8:22PM

34 mins

Sarr looks like a great player. He's the young right-back for Marseille and is quick on the ball and to read the play. Marseille hit a free-kick into the area from about 40 yards out and Germain goes down in the area, clearly under the close attention of the defenders. You know it won't be a penalty but I don't understand why defenders get away with that - if someone's holding you back so you can't move or jump I'm pretty that's a foul.

8:19PM

32 mins

Uh oh. Payet has gone down and this might be bad news... and it is. Payet has to leave the pitch with an injury, which I can only assume is a muscle one. He's crying as he leaves the pitch.

8:17PM

30 mins

I'm not quite sure what that celebration's about. Is it Fortnite?  I've not seen that one but I am also awful at that game. All the rage with these footballers.

8:16PM

28 mins

Diego Simeone is watching this one from the stands because he got sent-off against Arsenal. It doesn't seem to be harming the team too much.

8:13PM

25 mins

Vrsaljko trips the midfielder, Payet takes the free-kick and whips it into the area but the ball loops onto the top of the net off a head. Marseille looking to respond straight away.

8:10PM

GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!

Marseille 0 Atletico 1 (Griezmann 21')

ATLETICO TAKE THE LEAD! What a dreadful mistake! A pass by the goalkeeper flies off the Anguissa's boot - it's awful control - and gives Griezmann a free run through on goal!

griezmann scores goal

He waits for Mandanda to dive to his left and then dinks it over him to the right. 

8:07PM

20 mins

Atletico haven't settled yet, there's no rhythm to the passing and they're forcing things to happen rather than letting them occur. Marseille are asking all the metaphorical football questions, Atletico defending well but panicking on the ball.

8:05PM

18 mins

There's a great battle of defenders and midfielders near the Marseille box. Amavi throws himself into a series of challenges as he tries to win the ball back. The Marseille fans roar their team on to scrap and steal possession back. It sounds like there are about 500 Atletico fans and 80million Marseille ones.

8:04PM

16 mins

Koke attempts a McManaman-esque jumping volley but shoots way wide of goal. 

Credit: REUTERS

 

8:01PM

14 mins

Sarr tries a shot from 25 yards but drags it well wide of the far post. He had options there too, so it's a bit of a waste.

Atletico win a free-kick near the Marseille box as Correa goes down a bit too easily under a challenge. That looks more like he's lost balance after bouncing off the defender. Koke stands over the set piece, crosses in... and it's headed away.

7:59PM

11 mins

Diego Costa could be in trouble here. He's gone in hard to a contest a header with Rami and sends him flying. The referee gives him a wee talking to but there's no  yellow card, which seems fair after watching the replay. What a noise the Marseille fans made during that though - it's just whistles and jeers and boos.

Atletico's forwards are snapping at Marseille when they have the ball, they're making it really difficult to keep possession and Marseille's defenders need to stay switched on.

7:56PM

9 mins

Credit: AP

It's a very cultured game here in Lyon with Atletico fans doing a visual performance of John Milton's 'Paradise Lost'. 

On the pitch, Marseille are trying to attack quickly to deny Atletico the chance to set up their defensive shape.

7:54PM

7 mins

This is a great start from Marseille and they're unlucky not to be 1-0 up. Koke fouls on the right wing, giving Payet a chance to bend a free-kick into the area. He sends it to the six yard box but it's headed away and then volleyed back into the box. Rami puts his foot around the ball and shoots just wide!

7:52PM

4 mins

OOOOHHHH WHAT A MISS! Germain is clean through on goal! Marseille attack quickly through the middle and Payet's through-ball is perfect!Germain is in, only the goalie to beat and he punts it wide and high of the goal!

7:51PM

3 mins

There is still a heap of smoke from flares hovering over the pitch, with both sets of fans making an awful lot of noise. It looks like they're playing in a cloud. Atletico win a throw-in level with the Marseille box but manage to deal with it well.

7:48PM

KICK OFF 

And here we go! Marseille start the final and hit the ball straight out for a throw. Interesting choice.

7:43PM

Marseille won the European Cup in 1993

A nice bit of trivia for you. They've never won the UEFA Cup or Europa League though so if they can win tonight.

In other news, what the hell is this?

players on the pitch
presetnation

 It's a football game, please just let the fans create the atmosphere. Honestly, they really don't need DJs, all you're doing is drowning out the singing.

7:37PM

Delicious content

I realise this is the Europa League final (I miss the Cup Winner's Cup fwiw) but here's a nice wee bit that took a few of us a long time to put together from the end of the Premier League season.

The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18

 

7:32PM

The warmups

Credit: REUTERS
Credit: REUTERS

 

7:30PM

Ex-Premier League lads

Dimitri Payet, Diego Costa, Stefan Savic, Steve Mandanda and Felipe Luis are all fairly well known but I bet you don't remember Florian Thauvin (unless you're a Newcastle fan). He's been a revelation this season, scoring 22 league goals and assisting 11 others. He only got on the pitch 13 times for them! Someone missed a talent there... or was he just always better suited to French and European football? 

7:23PM

Marseille's road to the final

 

6:50PM

Starting lineups

Marseille

Mandanda, Sarr, Rami, Luiz Gustavo, Amavi, Thauvin, Zambo Anguissa, Payet, Sanson, Ocampos, Germain

 

Atletico Madrid

As expected, it's a 4-4-2 from Diego Simeone! Griezmann and Costa upfront.

 

6:34PM

Supporters filling up the stadium

Credit: REUTERS

 

6:21PM

A fine evening for a European final

Hello! Welcome to our liveblog for the Europa League final, a game between Marseille of France and Atletico Madrid of Spain. 

It's not the Champions League - let's not kid ourselves - but this is still a huge occasion and promises to be a really interesting match. We know Atletico will line up in Diego Simeone's tried and trusted 4-4-2, sitting deep, congesting the midfield and putting up walls of defence but how might Marseille approach things? 

We saw a three man defence in their two-legged victory over RB Leipzig but Rudi Garcia tends to prefer a more conventional 4-2-3-1, with Florian Thauvin and Lucas Ocampos supplying crosses from wide and Dimitri Payet - remember him? - playing as a number 10.

The ex-West Ham attacking midfielder hasn't been in scintillating form of late but he will be key to creating the chances needed to carve open Atletico's rigid defence. 

Credit: UEFA

Marseille fans haven't had to travel too far since this match is being played in Lyon. According to my friend, Google, that'll take about three hours to drive to but Atletico fans don't have quite the same journey and I'd hope they left slightly earlier - 12 hours for those supporters.

Credit: AP

And there they are! Having a lovely time on the streets of the city.  

Team news should be with us very soon, at which point we can work out how both managers plan to approach this. Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann are likely to start together and for the latter, this could be a final performance in an Atletico shirt. Rumours are getting louder that he may be on his way to Barcelona...

Stay with us for all the buildup, action and some on-the-fly analysis. Kick off is 7:45pm.