Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid rounded off their La Liga season on a high with a 2-0 home win against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Defeat to Levante last weekend ended Atletico’s title hopes but goals from Fernando Torres and Antoine Griezmann saw Diego Simeone’s men finish their domestic campaign with three points.
Diego Godin went close to opening the scoring after six minutes, but his header struck both the crossbar and the post before Fabian Orellana had Celta’s best chance of the first half, only to find Jan Oblak in terrific form.
A brace of goals in the space of three minutes shortly after half-time secured the points for Atletico, with Torres brilliantly volleying in the opener following Celta’s failure to clear a corner.
Griezmann then doubled the lead by heading into the open goal after Torres had hit the bar with another acrobatic effort.
Atletico were assured of third place whatever happened, while Celta Vigo, whose defeat was only their second in 10 matches, take sixth spot and qualify for the Europa League.
Simeone’s men went close to taking the lead in the seventh minute, but Godin’s header somehow stayed out as he was thwarted by the woodwork.
Marcelo Diaz and John Guidetti had efforts blocked as Celta pressed, then a darting Torres run almost created the opener for Atletico before the striker was crowded out in a display of strong defending from the visitors.
Celta had won on four of their previous eight visits to the Vicente Calderon and they would have gone ahead after 36 minutes but for a fantastic save from Oblak.
Nolito’s cross was perfect for Orellana to attack and his downward header was firm, but Oblak showed off his fine reactions to make a block from point-blank range.
Oblak pulled off another excellent save in the last minute of the first half, plunging to his right to keep out a curling free-kick by Nolito.
And those Oblak saves proved key as Atletico took the lead six minutes after the interval.
A corner flicked off the head of a Celta defender and Torres, who is in talks with Atletico over extending his stay, acrobatically volleyed in at the back post.
The points were effectively sealed shortly after when another Torres bicycle kick came back off the bar and Griezmann nodded in the rebound.
Oblak was tested again after 61 minutes as Nolito spun away from two defenders and hit a low shot, but the goalkeeper was equal to the effort.
The game grew increasingly tetchy with a handful of yellow cards shown in the closing minutes and Torres received a huge reception as he was replaced by Tiago – who made his return from a broken leg off the bench – as Simeone’s side prepared for the Champions League showpiece with arch rivals Real Madrid in two weeks’ time with their seventh straight home win in La Liga.
Key Opta stats:
– Atletico have kept 24 clean sheets in La Liga 2015-16. Only Deportivo have had more in a single La Liga season (26 in 1993-94).
– Antoine Griezmann is now Atletico’s top scorer in Liga under Diego Simeone (44, one more than Radamel Falcao).
– Atletico finish with 88 points in La Liga 2015-16, their second best point tally in a top-flight season (90 in 2013-14).
– Jan Oblak has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues this season (24).
– Atletico de Madrid have won their last seven home league games in a row, keeping six clean sheets in that period.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!