Griezmann treble against Celta takes Atletico second

Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann celebrates in his team’s emphatic triumph over Celta Vigo on Saturday (MIGUEL RIOPA)

Antoine Griezmann struck a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over 10-man Celta Vigo to help Atletico Madrid climb provisionally second in La Liga on Saturday.

The French forward was at his lethal best in a comfortable win at Celta’s Balaidos stadium for Diego Simeone’s side, made easier by the hosts’ goalkeeper Ivan Villar’s early dismissal.

The stopper took out Atletico striker Alvaro Morata in the area midway through the first half and was dismissed, with former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita coming on for his Celta debut.

His first job was to pick the ball out of the net as Griezmann dispatched the resulting penalty, before netting twice more to move second in the Spanish goalscoring charts on seven league goals, behind Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham.

The hosts, who came close themselves before Villar’s dismissal, nearly levelled when Jorgen Strand Larsen fired over after good work by Iago Aspas, and Jonathan Bamba hit the bar.

Guaita denied Samuel Lino just before half-time but he could not keep Griezmann at bay.

The Frenchman drove forward brilliantly from inside his own half into the Celta area, and then slipped as he tried to cross the ball, accidentally driving it past Guaita at the near post.

Griezmann slotted Nahuel Molina’s low cross home to complete his treble and round off a superb night for the Rojiblancos.

Atletico trail La Liga leaders Real Madrid by three points, but have a game in hand on their rivals, who drew 1-1 at Sevilla earlier Saturday.

Simeone’s side are level with Girona, third, on 22 points, with the Catalans hosting bottom team Almeria on Sunday before champions Barcelona, fourth, welcome Athletic Bilbao.



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