Stunning overhead kick gets Griezmann going again
MADRID (AP) Antoine Griezmann was getting increasingly tired of all the missed opportunities.
The jeers were becoming louder and the criticism was growing tougher.
He desperately needed to turn things around, and it took a stunning overhead kick for him to get going again.
Griezmann regained his scoring touch when Atletico Madrid needed him, finding the net with a remarkable volley to lead the Spanish club to a 2-0 win over Roma on Wednesday, keeping alive the team’s hopes of advancing in the Champions League.
”What a goal,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. ”The type of goal by someone of his talent. Hopefully it will be the first of many other goals to come.”
Griezmann hadn’t scored in eight games with Atletico, a drought that had been costly for the team as it endured a streak of only two wins in 10 matches in all competitions.
”We all have to improve, and I’m the first one who needs to do it,” said Griezmann, who entered the match on Wednesday with only three goals in 14 matches.
He was jeered by some fans at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium when he was substituted in the second half of the 0-0 draw against Real Madrid in the Spanish league on Saturday. He was also replaced in the last-minute win at Deportivo La Coruna in the previous round.
”I had been trying my best but the ball just wouldn’t go in,” Griezmann said.
The France forward also set up Kevin Gameiro’s goal against Roma at the Metropolitano, sending a perfect pass to his teammate inside the area.
”We hadn’t scored much early in the season but we are working to get better,” Gameiro said. ”It was a great goal by Griezmann and it should give him more confidence.”
Only victory could have kept Atletico from being eliminated on Wednesday, although the club still remains in a difficult position to make it to the knockout stages for the fifth straight season. It must defeat Chelsea in England on Dec. 5 and hope that Roma doesn’t beat last-place Qarabag in Italy.
The team’s poor campaign in Group C is mostly blamed on its offensive struggles. The defense has been working as usual, but the offense has not produced the goals needed for victories.
The problems were obvious in the two draws against Qarabag, which left Atletico depending on other results to advance. The team played with an extra man in both matches after red cards to Qarabag players, but it could not capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities.
”This time we capitalized on our chances,” Simeone said.
Atletico scored only seven goals in its last 10 matches. It hadn’t scored more than a goal in a game since September.
”We are glad that our forwards were able to score again,” Angel Correa said. ”We were creating the chances and we knew that it was only a matter of time before the balls started going in again.”
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