Europa League was crucial to Atletico Madrid revival: Diego Simeone

Europa League was crucial to Atletico Madrid revival: Diego Simeone

Europa League was crucial to Atletico Madrid revival: Diego Simeone

"I need to just enjoy this moment, having won a title, and celebrate it with the fans", said Griezmann after picking up the man-of-the-match award for scoring the Spanish side's first two goals.

Marseille pressed high from the start, and nearly broke the deadlock just on four minutes on their "home" pitch.

French forward Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico as he scored twice to send his team on their way to victory.

Without Payet, Marseille were rarely a threat, one-goal leads are something Atletico can protect with the most deflating of ease, but on this occasion, they elected to give themselves an extra cushion.

But their experiences of Wednesday's Europa League final at a cacophonous Groupama Stadium could hardly have been more contrasting. Andre Zambo Anguissa miscontrolled a pass from goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and Griezmann was never going to miss after being played in by Koke.

Simeone's side endured agonising defeats to city rivals Real Madrid in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League showpieces but have fond memories of thrashing Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the 2012 Europa League final in Bucharest.

Several of Marseille's players were in tears after the final whistle, undone by a player who was turned down by several French clubs when he was a youth because of his diminutive stature.

Superstitious football fans are claiming Dimitri Payet cursed himself and Marseille in the Europa League final after the France star committed a cardinal pre-game sin. "We work ourselves and defend well to be a hard opponent who takes advantage of their errors". "It made us realise what the team was capable of, and five months ago a lot of the players were being seriously questioned".

Griezmann, who scored in every knockout round for Madrid after they dropped down from the Champions League, proved to be the difference with two smart finishes more than enough to seal the trophy. Congratulations Torres on a dream come through!

Leading SA bookies have installed Atletico as 1/1 favourites to win in regulation time, while Marseille can be backed at 61/20. "I do not know what will happen, it is not a decision for him to say after the final".

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