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MADRID: Atletico Madrid’s Spanish forward #19 Alvaro Morata is challenged by Girona’s Dutch defender #17 Daley Blind (L) during the Spanish league football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Girona FC at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid. – AFP
MADRID: Atletico Madrid’s Spanish forward #19 Alvaro Morata is challenged by Girona’s Dutch defender #17 Daley Blind (L) during the Spanish league football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Girona FC at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid. – AFP

Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona

MADRID: Atletico Madrid on Saturday completed a good four days as they followed their Champions League quarter-final first-leg victory over Borussia Dortmund with a 3-1 Spanish La Liga victory over third-placed Girona.

Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Diego Simeone’s men moved to within four points of their opponents and pulled five clear of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao in the race for Champions League qualification. The Basques play Villarreal on Sunday.

Atletico won the home leg of their European tie 2-1 on Wednesday and visit Dortmund for the second leg on Tuesday. Girona took the lead in Madrid with a fourth-minute goal from close range by Artem Dovbyk that took him on to a league-leading 17 goals. Griezmann responded by converting a 34th-minute penalty. Angel Correa then gave the home side the lead six minutes into added time at the end of the first half. Griezmann extended his lead five minutes into the second half, taking advantage of a defensive error to fire home his 13th league goal of the season.

With an eye on the game in Germany, the France attacker was then replaced shortly after the hour mark by Marcos Llorente. Girona’s fifth defeat away from home, gives Barcelona, buoyed by their midweek 3-2 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, the chance to tighten their grip on second when they visit struggling Cadiz in the last game of the day. Real Madrid, eight points clear at the top, play at Mallorca later on Saturday. — AFP

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