Griezmann nods Atletico above Barca with Mallorca win

Antoine Griezmann headed Atletico Madrid into third place with a 1-0 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday, capitalizing on champions Barcelona’s earlier slip-up.

The Catalans drew 1-1 at Rayo Vallecano and Atletico took full advantage by drawing level on points with Barca, fourth, having played a game fewer and boasting a stronger goal difference.

Surprise La Liga leaders Girona face Athletic Bilbao Monday, while second-placed Real Madrid, one point ahead of Atletico, visit Cadiz on Sunday.

Griezmann’s superb header after 64 minutes split the teams, although visitors Mallorca spurned some good openings in the final stages.

Atletico midfielder Koke, the club’s record appearance maker, hit a milestone of 600 games for the club.

“The match was very hard for us, Mallorca played a very serious game,” Koke told Movistar.

The goal was Griezmann’s 301st in his career and he is rapidly closing in on Luis Aragones’ club record of 173 — the French forward has 170 for Atletico.

“(Griezmann) will be living history at Atletico Madrid, he will surpass Luis Aragones,” added Koke.

The hosts were on top from the start at the Metropolitano, with Angel Correa firing their best chance of the first half over early on.

Diego Simeone’s side dominated the ball but Mallorca defended well, keeping the Rojiblancos at arm’s length.

Neither goalkeeper was tested until Mallorca’s Predrag Rajkovic stopped an Alvaro Morata header early in the second half.

Atletico eventually moved ahead when Griezmann arced a brilliant header home from Mario Hermoso’s cross.

Jan Oblak made a good save from Gio Gonzalez with 10 minutes remaining and was grateful to see former Atletico youth player Amath Ndiaye fire wide when well-placed.

Atletico visit Feyenoord in the Champions League on Tuesday night, knowing they can reach the last 16 with a victory.

Mallorca, 17th, are one point clear of the relegation zone but have played one fewer match than the three teams below them.

“We had some clear chances … heads up, we go on,” Mallorca defender Martin Valjent told Movistar.



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