Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his side’s “terrific performance” after a 2-2 Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid.

Celtic twice took the lead in the first half through Kyogo Furuhashi and Luis Palma, who netted shortly after Antoine Griezmann had netted the rebound from his own penalty.

Celtic played with pace, purpose and confidence in the first half and both goals came after excellent moves, but they could not keep up the tempo after the break and Alvaro Morata levelled eight minutes into the second half.

Rodgers said: “I thought it was a terrific performance, especially the first 45 minutes – the quality of our football, the speed in our pressing and in our game, everything we would want.

“We were unfortunate with the penalty. One, it was very harsh, and, two, they got the good fortune after the save hits the post and comes straight to the player.

“But our reaction was superb, everything I wanted in terms of playing together, pressing and the intensity and a really aggressive mentality and then having the courage to play.

“We expected them second half to have a spell in the game but they didn’t create so much. Their equaliser was fantastic, the early cross and great finish.

“But we kept fighting and showed we can compete with a top-level team.

“It will give us confidence to know we can create opportunities and play the football we want to play. The team pressed the game well and passed it for a lot of the game.”

Rodgers, who revealed Reo Hatate had suffered a hamstring injury, which forced him off for Paulo Bernardo inside seven minutes, admitted it was difficult to maintain the intensity for 90 minutes.

Celtic never looked like taking the lead for a third time, despite Atletico going down to 10 men in the 82nd minute.

He added: “There’s a wee bit of tiredness that comes in the last 20 minutes because we are not used to playing at that tempo and against that level of opponent, so naturally a wee bit of fatigue kicks in. We also had to make an early sub with Reo’s injury.

“It was a really big performance but we couldn’t quite get the result we were looking for.”

Celtic are bottom of the group with one point from three games ahead of trips to Madrid and Lazio, the latter of whom have four points.

Rodgers said: “We wanted to get three points but if you can’t get the win then don’t lose it, and I don’t think we looked like losing. I can see development for sure.

“We have shown we can perform and we go into the other three trying to get as many points as we can and see where it takes us.”

Atletico manager Diego Simeone admitted his side had struggled to deal with Celtic in the first half.

“As expected, they started really well, as they did in their first two games,” he said.

“We really struggled to contain them early on and they scored with their first attack. We managed to respond but they quickly scored a fantastic goal.

“The first half didn’t go as we would have liked but I was really pleased with the second half, it was a real Champions League performance. We showed a lot of personality and responsibility.”

Simeone, who brought on Marcos Llorente and Rodrigo Riquelme at half-time, added: “In the first half we didn’t have the speed the game required, we weren’t up to scratch and they combined well in our half.

“But the subs had a big impact and we had better solutions in our passing game.”

Celtic twice lost a lead as they gained their first Champions League point in a 2-2 home draw with 10-man Atletico Madrid.

Kyogo Furuhashi got Celtic off to a flying start with his second goal in two Champions League games and Luis Palma quickly restored Celtic’s lead after Antoine Griezmann scored following his own saved penalty.

Celtic were deservedly on course for a first Champions League group-stage home win in 10 years following a first-half display full of pace and purpose but they started slowly after the break and Alvaro Morata levelled inside eight minutes of the restart.

The Scottish champions never rediscovered their spark – even after Atletico went down to 10 men in the 82nd minute – and their run without a home win at this level is now at 12 games.

Feyenoord’s win over Lazio left Celtic three points adrift of the Italians at the bottom of Group E, halfway through the campaign with trips to Spain and Rome to follow.

The build-up to the game had been dominated by internal and external strife.

Thousands of Celtic fans defied the club before kick-off by displaying Palestine flags, an act which will inevitably lead to UEFA sanctions.

Atletico’s decision to dispense with their striped shirts and wear an all-red top based on the one worn by the team that beat Celtic in the 1974 European Cup semi-finals also opened old wounds.

Two of the team that gained a goalless first-leg draw at Parkhead had travelled with the current side but the tribute did not go down well among the Celtic support given Atletico had three men sent off and seven others booked in that brutal encounter.

Furuhashi ignited the highly-charged atmosphere inside four minutes following a one-touch move. The Japan international twice exchanged passes with Matt O’Riley before taking a touch and slotting home from six yards.

There was a blow for Brendan Rodgers moments later when Reo Hatate went off injured. The Celtic manager brought on 21-year-old midfielder Paulo Bernardo, who is yet to start a game since his loan move from Benfica.

The home side remained positive, roared on by the crowd as they pressed Atletico high up the park, but the visitors levelled in the 25th minute after Greg Taylor was penalised for a trip on Nahuel Molina.

Joe Hart saved Griezmann’s penalty at full stretch but the France international dispatched the rebound.

Taylor atoned three minutes later when he played a searching ball beyond right-back Molina which sent Daizen Maeda in behind. The resulting cross found fellow winger Palma and the Honduran took a touch and rifled a shot in off the post.

Palma had been denied a late goal against Lazio three weeks ago by a marginal VAR ruling and an offside decision soon went Celtic’s way after Axel Witsel headed home from a set-piece.

O’Riley had earlier threatened with a first-time strike which was met with a diving save as Celtic continued to attack with verve.

Diego Simeone made two half-time changes and substitute Marcos Llorente vindicated his introduction within eight minutes as he crossed for Morata to equalise with a diving header.

Morata and Llorente both threatened and Rodgers responded by bringing on centre-back Nat Phillips for Palma and changing formation.

Atletico continued to boss possession and Celtic were contributing to their difficulties with some slack passing. Hart saved well from Morata after the Spain international turned Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Celtic got a lifeline when Argentinian midfielder Rodrigo de Paul received a second yellow card following a sliding tackle on Bernardo.

Substitute James Forrest shot not far over but Celtic could not seriously trouble the 10 men.

Atletico Madrid missed the chance to leapfrog Real Madrid and finish second in LaLiga on the final day of the season, as Jorge Pascual scored Villarreal's last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

Antoine Griezmann laid on two goals for Angel Correa after Nicolas Jackson put Villarreal ahead early on, but Axel Witsel's red card saw Diego Simeone's side come under mounting pressure, which told when Pascual converted two minutes into stoppage time.

That meant Atleti finished the season one point adrift of their city rivals in third, despite Los Blancos labouring to a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Pablo Barrios' error was punished as Villarreal went ahead after nine minutes, the teenager's miscued header teeing up Jackson for a powerful finish across goal. 

Atleti levelled when Correa turned Griezmann's clever free-kick home nine minutes later, and the France international teed up Correa again with the latter rounding Filip Jorgensen to put the visitors 2-1 up after the break.

With Atleti seemingly heading for second place, Witsel was dismissed for fouling Giovani Lo Celso as the last man, and Villarreal made their numerical advantage count in the season's dying moments, Pascual converting a rebound to condemn Simeone's side to third.

Real Sociedad secured Champions League qualification despite goals from Antoine Griezmann and Nahuel Molina condemning them to a 2-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

La Real headed to the Civitas Metropolitano knowing three points would seal a top-four LaLiga finish for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

But a superb first-half strike from Griezmann would put Diego Simeone's already-qualified Atletico in front, cutting onto his left foot before lashing into the far corner for his 15th league goal of the season.

Molina would make the points safe for third-placed Atletico, latching onto Griezmann's neat throughball before smashing a deflected effort past Alex Remiro and into the net.

Alexander Sorloth would pull one back late on, Brais Mendez producing a brilliant assist to set the striker in on goal before the Norway international fired home.

But time would run out on their pursuit of an equaliser as the visitors fell to a first loss in eight league matches.

La Real would be able to celebrate at full time, however, as Villarreal's 2-1 loss away at Rayo Vallecano ensured Imanol Alguacil's team will be playing Champions League football next season.

Atletico can still finish second. They are a point behind city rivals Real Madrid going into the final matchday of the season next weekend.

Atletico Madrid squandered a three-goal lead in a remarkable 3-3 draw at Espanyol, as Vinicius Souza's equaliser ensured Los Colchoneros missed the chance to go second in LaLiga.

After seeing rivals Real Madrid leapfrog them with a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano, Atleti appeared set to move one point clear in the battle to finish as runners-up when they raced into a 3-0 lead.

Saul Niguez struck first with a left-footed finish from a tight angle 21 minutes in, and Antoine Griezmann's 14th league goal of the season put Diego Simeone's men in control on the stroke of half-time.

Atleti further extended their lead within 14 seconds of the restart, Yannick Carrasco converting the rebound when Angel Correa's drive was palmed away by Fernando Pacheco.

But Espanyol, fighting for their lives near the bottom of LaLiga, were in no mood to roll over. Cesar Montes powered a header home from a right-wing corner before Ivo Grbic's foul on Javier Puado allowed Joselu to convert from the penalty spot.

Vinicius then dented Atleti's bid for second with a glancing header from Aleix Vidal's cross 11 minutes from time, but with the hosts three points adrift of safety, it may not be enough to preserve their top-flight status.

Barcelona must rediscover their firepower when they attempt to keep in-form Atletico Madrid's waiting for an elusive win at Camp Nou on Sunday.

A goalless draw at Getafe last weekend meant Barca have failed to find the back of the net in three games.

Xavi's side remain well on course to win the LaLiga title, leading Real Madrid by 11 points with nine matches to play, but have stuttered in recent weeks.

The Blaugrana have not been beaten at home by Atleti since back in 2006, but Diego Simeone's third-placed side head into the game on a six-match winning run in LaLiga.

Using the standout Opta data, Stats Perform preview a huge game in Catalonia.

 

Barca must rediscover cutting edge

The leaders have not scored a goal since a 4-0 hammering of Elche on April 1, firing a blank when they were consigned to a 4-0 drubbing by Madrid in the Copa del Rey before back-to-back stalemates against Girona and Getafe.

Barca had 44 shots in those three matches, hitting the woodwork twice against Getafe. On only three previous occasions have they failed to score in four successive games, most recently in April 2008 under Frank Rijkaard.

The return to training this week of Ousmane Dembele, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong should give them a lift.

Defensive records make goal-fest unlikely

With so many classy attacking players on show, you might think surely another goalless draw will not be on the cards this weekend.

It would be no great surprise, though, given the defensive records the two sides have, with Barca keeping 22 clean sheets in the 2022-campaign and Atleti 12.

Marc Andre Ter Stegen has only let in an incredible nine goals this season in 29 games in the Spanish top flight, with Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak second on the list of the fewest conceded with 21.

Camp Nou an unhappy hunting ground for Simeone

Simeone has had more games without a win at Camp Nou as a boss than any other venue, failing to come out on top on 15 occasions.

Atleti secured back-to-back away victories over Barca in 2005 and 2006, but the Catalan giants are unbeaten in 16 home matches against the Rojiblancos since their last loss 17 years ago.

Simeone's men are on a roll, though, reeling off six successive LaLiga wins – the joint-best current run in Europe's top five leagues along with Manchester City – and they are unbeaten in 13 games in the competition. 

Griezy does it

Antoine Griezmann will return to face his former employers in impressive form.

The France forward has scored five goals in his past eight LaLiga games, just one less than in his previous 36 games in the competition.

Griezmann scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over Almeria last weekend, taking his tally for the season to 12 to go with 11 assists.

France won their first game since their World Cup final defeat in style, beating the Netherlands 4-0 at the Stade de France to kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a bang.

Antoine Griezmann put France ahead early after he was teed up by the man chosen over him for the captaincy, Kylian Mbappe, before Dayot Upamecano doubled their advantage inside eight minutes after Jasper Cillessen made a mess of a free-kick.

Mbappe made it three before the halfway point of the first-half, before striking a fabulous second late on as Didier Deschamps' men strolled to an opening win in Group B.

The Dutch had lost several players in the build-up to the game with a virus, but will have been made even sicker by the start to their qualifying campaign and Ronald Koeman's second spell as head coach, with Memphis Depay seeing a late penalty saved to add insult to injury.

After all the noise about the France captaincy, it was somewhat appropriate that Mbappe fed the ball inside to Griezmann to side-foot low and hard to Cillessen's right to give the hosts a second-minute lead.

It was 2-0 soon after as Cillessen failed to deal with Griezmann's free-kick from the right, with the ball ricocheting off Upamecano and rolling through the Dutch goalkeeper's legs into the net.

Mbappe had his first goal as captain in the 21st minute when he played the ball to Aurelien Tchouameni on the halfway line, before racing towards to the left-side of the penalty area to get onto the Real Madrid midfielder's return pass – dummied by Randal Kolo Muani – before finishing calmly.

Koeman took action by introducing Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst for Kenneth Taylor after just 33 minutes, and the Netherlands were at least able to avoid further damage despite never really testing Mike Maignan in the French goal.

That was until Depay's sloppy pass backwards found Mbappe, who teased Jurrien Timber and Daley Blind before firing across Cillessen to make it 4-0 in the 88th minute, while Depay saw his stoppage-time penalty saved by Maignan to wrap up a miserable game for the Dutch.

What does it mean? France eager to get going on the road to Germany

If Griezmann was disappointed by Deschamps' decision to give the armband to Mbappe, he hid it well as he scored after just a minute and 55 seconds.

It was the fastest goal for Les Bleus since October 11, 2006 when Louis Saha scored after 37 seconds against the Faroe Islands.

The Netherlands had 59 per cent possession, and 11 shots to France's 12, but their slow start gave them far too much to do.

Captain Kylian more than capable

France had not led by three goals this early in a game since December 17, 1953, against Luxembourg when it took just 10 minutes during an 8-0 drubbing.

Mbappe thrived in his first game as captain as he led from the front, taking five shots, four more than any of his team-mates, and making 18 passes in the opposition half, with only Tchouameni recording as many.

Koeman hopes the future's Oranje

The returning Dutch boss Koeman gave youngsters Lutsharel Geertruida, Xavi Simons and Taylor their first senior international starts, but it never felt like a game for inexperience, with Taylor barely lasting half-an-hour, albeit rather harshly.

It was the first time three players have made their full Netherlands debut in the same match since October 2015, and Koeman will be hoping that the experience for them, and the rest of the team, is at least a learning one.

What's next?

France head to the Republic of Ireland on Monday, while the Netherlands host Gibraltar the same day as Group B continues.

Didier Deschamps says Antoine Griezmann's disappointment at being overlooked as France captain for Kylian Mbappe "lasted two minutes".

It actually took less than two minutes for Mbappe to provide an assist for Griezmann to set France on their way to a 4-0 win against the Netherlands on Friday to make a strong start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign at the Stade de France.

Deschamps had announced Mbappe – who also scored twice after Dayot Upamecano had found the net – as his new captain ahead of Griezmann, but said at a post-match press conference that there are no issues between the two.

"Fortunately, I don't know what is said and written. The two get along well, they work well and they have the same objective of seeing the French team perform well," he said. 

"Antoine's disappointment lasted two minutes. There is not the slightest problem, like the whole group. Everyone gave off positive vibes."

Mbappe completed the scoring in the 88th minute, though the Netherlands won a penalty in stoppage time, only for Mike Maignan to save from Memphis Depay.

While Mbappe replaced Hugo Lloris as captain after his retirement, Maignan was playing his first game since being confirmed as Lloris' replacement as France's new first-choice goalkeeper, and Deschamps was in no doubt about the decision.

"It's Mike. I didn't have to ask myself the question," he said. "He was injured but whether it was his qualities as a goalkeeper or his mentality... total confidence. It went very well for him. Mike has everything to take over [from Lloris]."

France had a 3-0 lead after just 21 minutes, having not led so early in a game since December 1953 when they beat Luxembourg 8-0, and had a 2-0 lead by the 10th minute.

"I don't know [if it was a perfect evening], but [it was] a very nice evening," Deschamps said. "The start was very good, efficient... We managed in the second half while continuing to be dangerous. That Mike stopped this penalty at the end ended the evening well."

Deschamps also said there could be changes for Monday's second Group B game away at the Republic of Ireland, adding: "It will be another fight for us to fight."

France won their first game since their World Cup final defeat in style, beating the Netherlands 4-0 at the Stade de France to kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a bang.

Antoine Griezmann put France ahead early after he was teed up by the man chosen over him for the captaincy, Kylian Mbappe, before Dayot Upamecano doubled their advantage inside eight minutes after Jasper Cillessen made a mess of a free-kick.

Mbappe made it three before the halfway point of the first-half, before striking a fabulous second late on as Didier Deschamps' men strolled to an opening win in Group B.

The Dutch had lost several players in the build-up to the game with a virus, but will have been made even sicker by the start to their qualifying campaign and Ronald Koeman's second spell as head coach, with Memphis Depay seeing a late penalty saved to add insult to injury.

After all the noise about the France captaincy, it was somewhat appropriate that Mbappe fed the ball inside to Griezmann to side-foot low and hard to Cillessen's right to give the hosts a second-minute lead.

It was 2-0 soon after as Cillessen failed to deal with Griezmann's free-kick from the right, with the ball ricocheting off Upamecano and rolling through the Dutch goalkeeper's legs into the net.

Mbappe had his first goal as captain in the 21st minute when he played the ball to Aurelien Tchouameni on the halfway line, before racing towards to the left-side of the penalty area to get onto the Real Madrid midfielder's return pass – dummied by Randal Kolo Muani – before finishing calmly.

Koeman took action by introducing Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst for Kenneth Taylor after just 33 minutes, and the Netherlands were at least able to avoid further damage despite never really testing Mike Maignan in the French goal.

That was until Depay's sloppy pass backwards found Mbappe, who teased Jurrien Timber and Daley Blind before firing across Cillessen to make it 4-0 in the 88th minute, while Depay saw his stoppage-time penalty saved by Maignan to wrap up a miserable game for the Dutch.

Kylian Mbappe revealed Antoine Griezmann was disappointed to have been overlooked for the France captaincy, but insisted he is not superior to any other player in the squad.

France head coach Didier Deschamps confirmed on Tuesday that Mbappe will take the armband from Hugo Lloris – who retired from international football in January – with Griezmann named as the Paris Saint-Germain star's deputy.

Mbappe has earned 66 caps for Les Blues, compared to Griezmann's 117, though the Atletico Madrid forward is eight years his senior.

Reports from France this week suggested Griezmann did not take the news well, feeling he was better suited to the role, and Mbappe can understand why his team-mate was upset at the decision.

"I spoke with Antoine. He was disappointed and it's understandable," Mbappe said at a press conference on Thursday. "I told him that I would have had the same reaction.

"He is perhaps the player who has been the most important in the Deschamps era. But I am not his superior. We will be hand in hand, he and I, to try to make this French team reign at world level. 

"If he has something to say in front of the group, I will sit down and listen. We must not close the door to anyone. Everyone is free to express themselves."

Mbappe's first assignment as skipper will be Friday's opening Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands at the Stade de France.

Explaining his decision to hand the armband to Mbappe, Deschamps said the superstar attacker "ticks all the boxes" to lead the team, explaining that Griezmann is more than willing to play his part.

"I had discussions [with Griezmann], but I will not go into details," he told reporters. "I can assure you that Antoine, since Monday has been smiling.

"That he was disappointed at the time, it is legitimate. But that stopped there.

"From what I see, everyone has the same objective in relation to the group. Antoine is vice-captain; he has an important role as he always had.

"He is radiant, whether it be in the sessions or in the group."

Mbappe, who has also occasionally captained PSG, does not believe the new role will alter the way he plays.

"I'm not going to change," he said. "I will always do what my coach asks me. A good captain is someone focused on the team, who is able to unite.

"It's beyond cool. I'm captain of my country. It's a new responsibility for me which I will assume naturally. It won't change the way I play, but maybe the way I behave."

Didier Deschamps backed Kylian Mbappe to bring a "unifying" influence to his new role as captain of France.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward was the outstanding candidate to replace Hugo Lloris, who retired from international duty after the World Cup.

Mbappe was reportedly told of his appointment by coach Deschamps after a dinner on Monday, and Antoine Griezmann has been confirmed as vice-captain.

Reports said Griezmann, who turned 32 on Tuesday, was disappointed not to be handed the captaincy, having been a mainstay of the team for many years.

However, Mbappe is himself richly experienced on the international stage after making his debut as an 18-year-old some six years ago. He has gone on to score 36 goals in 66 appearances.

Twelve of those goals have come in World Cups, with Mbappe helping France win the 2018 tournament before their runner-up finish at Qatar 2022, where he won the Golden Boot.

Deschamps told French broadcaster TF1: "Kylian Mbappe is the new captain of Les Blues. Antoine Griezmann is the vice-captain.

"Kylian ticks all the boxes to have this responsibility. On the field as in group life, by being a unifying element."

Mbappe will lead the team into their Euro 2024 qualifiers, which start against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland this fortnight.

His first game as skipper will be against the Dutch on Friday at the Stade de France.

France's squad gathered at their Clairefontaine training base on Monday. They trained on Tuesday with the crucial question of who might be captain having been resolved.

Diego Simeone set a new record for matches in charge of Atletico Madrid on Saturday and his players provided a stunning tribute as they crushed Sevilla 6-1 at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Simeone, 54, was presiding over his 613th match as Atletico coach, breaking the record set by the late Luis Aragones.

He was handed with a framed commemorative jersey with "Legend, Simeone, 613" across the back before the LaLiga game, with Aragones' son and three of Simeone's children joining him for the presentation.

Simeone's side followed that up with a fitting homage as they brutally swept aside another of their coach's former clubs.

Memphis Depay scored twice in quick succession before the half-hour mark, his second an emphatic strike from the edge of the box, with Youssef En-Nesyri halving the deficit from close range late in the half.

Atletico need not have worried, however. Antoine Griezmann restored the two-goal lead early in the second half and Yannick Carrasco made it 4-1.

Alvaro Morata netted twice late on – his first coming just after Ivan Rakitic missed a penalty – to wrap up a memorable victory on a momentous day for Simeone.

"A night to enjoy and one that [Simeone] will surely not forget," club captain Koke told Movistar after the game. "But hey, I'm sure he's already thinking about the Girona game because his philosophy in life is like that.

"Bygones are bygones, and he always looks to the next game."

He added: "You can't imagine an Atletico Madrid without Simeone. I've been here for 11 years, he came with a very clear idea, he changed the mentality, brought us all together, given the club the stability it needed and hopefully it will continue for many years.

"He has a year and a half left on his contract and we'll see what happens later."

Griezmann celebrated his goal by running over to Simeone and wrapping him in a huge hug.

Explaining the gesture, Griezmann said: "What is an important day for him is an important day for me. I wanted it to be a magical day for the fans and for my team-mates."

For Simeone, however, his focus turned to Aragones, whom he was coached by as a player at Sevilla.

Aragones died in February 2014, but ahead of Saturday's game Simeone posted a letter to him on social media, an act the Argentinian felt was necessary to outline his emotions.

Discussing the letter after the Sevilla game, Simeone told reporters: "Explaining feelings and emotions is difficult.

"I had no doubts seven or eight days ago, I began to think about what was happening and I understood that there was a person before everything that I had to write to, Luis. I talked about it with the family and they said it was a good idea.

"Why? We have travelled the same path; that respect for an eternal person; and passing the point that places me – by numbers, not by capacity – in the history of Atletico.

"Where I am, [Aragones] knows the difficulty. He knows the anger, the egos, living with the emotions, what the club needs, the coaching staff, that we must not make mistakes, that I must say the right word at the right time.

"We have made mistakes several times, but I am calm, I am at peace, because I am in the place where I want to be, I do what I like.

"I am excited to see when the team stands up and continues fighting until the end."

Saul Niguez scored the only goal of the game as Atletico Madrid responded to their Copa del Rey elimination with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Osasuna that maintained their grip on LaLiga's top four.

Diego Simeone's side suffered a 3-1 extra-time loss to Real Madrid in the Copa quarter-finals on Thursday and were far from their best three days later at El Sadar.

Jan Oblak had to keep Osasuna at bay in the second half, before substitute Saul's calm 74th-minute finish proved the difference as Atletico recorded a much-needed triumph.

Victory moved Atletico three points clear of Villarreal and Real Betis in fifth and sixth respectively, while Simeone's side trail Real Sociedad – who play Real Madrid later on Sunday – by four.

An offside flag rendered Oblak's impressive 23rd-minute save against Chimy Avila redundant before Jose Gimenez headed over a presentable chance from Antoine Griezmann's in-swinging corner at the other end.

Aitor Fernandez repelled Griezmann from close range after a scramble inside the area, though neither side impressed during an otherwise drab first half.

Griezmann forced another smart Fernandez stop with a low drive immediately after the interval, while Avila headed David Garcia's deep right-wing cross narrowly over.

Oblak expertly denied Moi Gomez's back-post half-volley just past the hour, and that save proved pivotal when Saul raced onto Rodrigo De Paul's throughball to find the bottom-right corner and secure victory.

Diego Simeone is ready to get Memphis Depay "hooked" on Atletico Madrid's passion following his arrival from Barcelona.

The Netherlands international made his debut as a second-half substitute in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Real Valladolid at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Depay's move comes after Joao Felix's loan to Chelsea and provides Simeone with another option in the final third, though he does not see the forward as a "pure striker" to lead the line.

"I see him as similar to [Diego] Costa, who wasn't a pure striker. When we put him as a striker, it was because he had the conditions and he wanted to play on the wing," he told DAZN.

"Depay has strength, power. You need to work and help us and we need to help you.

"He has played little, and we will give him minutes and training and get him hooked on our passion."

While there was excitement for Depay's maiden outing, it was the display of a pink-haired Antoine Griezmann that dazzled the spectators, with the France international pulling the strings.

Setting up Alvaro Morata and Mario Hermoso either side of a goal of his own, Griezmann has flourished in a deeper role but believes he can still perform to a higher standard.

"I know I have a lot of freedom here, having to work defensively. When I can do offensively, it helps me to be happy," he told DAZN.

"I'm enjoying myself, I haven't reached my best level yet. I'm getting closer little by little. I really enjoy fighting for this coach and this club.

"It's my home, it's the joy that people give me. All the workers of the club make me very happy; I enjoy it a lot with my team-mates.

"When I do weird or colourful hairstyles, it shows that I am very happy."

Antoine Griezmann starred as Atletico Madrid returned to winning ways in LaLiga with a 3-0 victory over Real Valladolid.

Three goals in 10 first-half minutes at the Civitas Metropolitano put Diego Simeone's side in control en route to their first league victory of 2023.

Griezmann's stellar assist set up Alvaro Morata's opener, with the France international then adding his own name to the scoresheet with a cheeky finish.

It was also Griezmann's delivery that led to Mario Hermoso firing home on the rebound as Los Colchoneros set down a marker in the fierce battle for a top-four finish.

Morata started brightly and opened the scoring in the 18th minute, deceiving a defender with a feint and slotting past Jordi Masip after Griezmann's outrageous backheel.

The hosts doubled their advantage five minutes later as Griezmann flicked Nahuel Molina's driven cross beyond Masip at the near post.

Hermoso soon added a third, blasting in from close range after his initial header from Griezmann's free-kick was parried by the goalkeeper.

Thinking ahead to the midweek Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid, Diego Simeone shuffled his deck before the hour, and the introduction of Barcelona-linked Yannick Carrasco drew jeers from sections of the crowd.

But Atletico continued to threaten, Koke hitting the crossbar and Angel Correa seeing a low drive strike both posts.

Memphis Depay, making his debut after joining from Barca, was introduced for a 15-minute cameo as Atletico ultimately coasted to a straightforward victory that puts them three points clear of the chasing pack.

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