Europa League Final - Marseille 0-3 Atletico Madrid: 3 key battles that decided the game
A look at 3 individual battles that played a part in Atletico Madrid's comfortable victory over Marseille in the Europa League final.
Atletico Madrid broke their European jinx with one of the most one-sided finals in recent history, as they cruised to a 0-3 win against Marseille at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais courtesy of Antoine Griezmann's inspired performance.
Marseille came out of the gates quickly and banged on Atletico's doors incessantly for the first 20 minutes, but an individual mistake on their part gave Simeone's men the lead. After that, the match was never the same as the Spaniards took control of the game and ran riot in the end.
This Europa League triumph represents Diego Simeone's sixth title with Atleti during his stint with the club and Los Rojiblancos' third Europa league title in the last 10 years.
Atletico's victory means that Spanish clubs have now won eight out of the nine major European competitions in the last five years, with one more final (Liverpool vs Real Madrid) left to play.
As usual, there were a few key individual battles that went a long way in deciding the outcome of the fixture. Here's a look at three such battles:
#1 Antoine Griezmann vs Luiz Gustavo
If there was any doubt as to whether Griezmann had the heart to step up during the big games, here is the answer: Yes, he can.
The French forward was almost unplayable on the night, dancing around the Marseille defenders and picking out his teammates in the box with immaculate precision. Efficiency has been the key defining characteristic of Simeone's Atletico in recent years, and Griezmann's game was the pinnacle of that.
After Atletico were bogged down by Marseille's high pressing in the early minutes, the game was slowly getting to a normal pace when the defining moment happened - Zambo Anguissa's poor touch off a pass from goalkeeper Steve Mandanda gave the ball to Gabi, who found Griezmann easily.
The Frenchman waited for the keeper to make the dive, and calmly dispatched it past him to give the Red and Whites the lead. He doubled the lead after half-time - this time collecting the ball from Koke and lobbing the 'keeper with his left foot.
Luiz Gustavo, handed the armband after Dimitri Payet's hamstring injury early in the game, was tasked with marking Griezmann. While he found it easy at the beginning, when Atletico were yet to find their footing in the game, it got worse once the opener.
His frustration was evident late in the game when he threw in unnecessary tackles and left his foot in during 50/50s and was suitably punished with a yellow card for a rash challenge on Gabi.
Amidst rumours that Griezmann is on his way out of the club this summer, the fans could not have asked for a better parting gift from their superstar.