This week’s La Liga game of the week saw Atletico Madrid bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona that all but put an end to their title hopes with a resounding 3-0 victory over a Celta Vigo side that remain outside hopefuls for a spot in next year’s Europa League.
Despite the emphatic score line that greeted the adoring Atletico fans come the tie’s final whistle, there was little to suggest for the best part of the first half.
With it appearing ever more likely that both sides would return to the changing rooms at a dead heat, Atletico’s talisman Antoine Griezmann seized the initiative for the hosts on the stroke of half time as he pounced upon an offensive header in the box at the far post, cooling turning the onrushing header and drilling it into the far top corner.
The goal represented his sixteenth in 25 starts this season as he hit the 78 point mark in exceptional style.
Having battled for so long to retain their lead, the resolve of the clearly deflated visitors capitulated.
Just ten minutes into the second half, Vitolo doubled the hosts lead as he grabbed what was only his second goal of the season.
The 28-year-old read an incisive pass from team mate Griezmann to dink it past the onrushing Blanco to hit eight points for the campaign.
The Argentine Correa put the game beyond any doubt seven minutes later as he tucked the ball into the bottom corner with a precision that contrasted the bullish attitude it took for him to work the opportunity.
His goal saw him hit seven for the season in his 28th appearance, as he earned a place in the team of the season.
With another clean sheet in the bank for Jan Oblak, he hits 121 points for the season to take the position as the leading point-scorer across La Liga.
The victory at the Wanda Metropolitano exemplified the winning mentality that Diego Simeone has instilled in the club in a tenure that stretches back nearly seven years.
Whilst others teams would rightfully have felt deflated following a defeat that essentially curtailed their chances of securing a league title, Simeone’s men continue to fight for their pride and the opportunity to remain the ‘best of the rest’ as they retained their seven point gap to third placed Real Madrid.
With the chance for European glory still possible via the Europa League, the intensity of their victory exemplifies just how much of a threat they could prove to be as we enter the final furlongs of the campaign.
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