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Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann sees Atletico into Cup quarters despite defeat


Madrid (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann struck for the third time in as many games in 2017 as Atletico Madrid secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey 4-3 on aggregate despite losing 3-2 at home to Las Palmas on Tuesday.

Griezmann shrugged off the disappointment of finishing third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for world’s best player at the inaugural Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday to force home the opener four minutes into the second half.

A fine individual effort from Marko Livaja gave Las Palmas a brief lifeline, but Angel Correa looked to have killed the tie off just after the hour mark.

However, the hosts were made to sweat in the final seconds of stoppage time as two goals in three minutes from Livaja and Mateo Garcia gave Las Palmas victory on the night.

Despite holding a commanding 2-0 first leg lead, Atletico boss Diego Simeone took no chances by naming a strong side.

Griezmann was included despite making the trip to Zurich to attend FIFA’s gala in Zurich just 24 hours earlier and had the first big chance when he fired straight at Raul Lizoain on 23 minutes.

Las Palmas had chances to get back into the tie as Miguel Angel Moya produced a great save to deny Livaja’s header at the near post before Tana blasted over when well-placed inside the area.

Griezmann scored for the first time in La Liga for three months in a 2-0 win at Eibar on Saturday, but the Frenchman is now on his best scoring run of the season as he tapped home Nicolas Gaitan’s cross at the start of the second half to give Atletico extra breathing space.

Livaja took advantage of some uncharacteristically lax defending from Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez to drive through the heart of the Atletico defence and smash the ball into the far corner.

However, just four minutes later Correa controlled a long ball from Koke and shrugged off his marker before finishing from a narrow angle to put Atletico back in front.

The game appeared to be petering out when a great touch and cross from Garcia teed up Livaja for a second equaliser a minute from time.

And Garcia then volleyed home himself from Jonathan Viera’s free-kick deep into stoppage time, but Atletico held out to progress.

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