LYON, France – Antoine Griezmann had a brace on Wednesday to lead Atletico Madrid to a 3-0 triumph over Olympique Marseille in the Europa League final.
Atleti, a side that reached the Champions League final twice in three seasons, were seen as the favorite to win the Europa League from the moment they were eliminated from the top-tier competition last December.
Facing them on Wednesday at Lyon’s Parc OL was the Cinderella team of the 2017-2018 Europa League. To get here, Marseille had to get past Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg, and the French side started brightly in front of the overwhelmingly supportive crowd of 59,000.
Captain and playmaker Dimitri Payet set the tone for Marseille, propelling his team forward in pursuit of an early goal.
It was Payet who created Marseille’s best chance of the night by delivering a great ball to Valere Germain, only to watch the striker send his shot over the cross-bar.
Minutes later, Marseille defender Adil Rami’s volley went just outside the post.
Griezmann, who grew up supporting Olympique Lyon, opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, exploiting a blunder by Marseille midfielder Andre-Frank Anguissa to beat keeper Steve Mandanda from close range.
Marseille was still reeling from the Atleti goal eight minutes later when a tearful Payet left the field with an injury, sharply diminishing the odds for a comeback against a Colchonero squad that knows how to play with a lead.
The second goal came just three minutes into the second half, when Griezmann scored with a magnificent assist from Koke.
The France international has scored 112 goals in four seasons with Atletico.
Gabi Fernandez made it 3-0 with a goal in the final minute of regulation before coach Diego Simeone – who watched from the stands due to a touchline ban – could join his players in hoisting the Europe League trophy for the third time.
The team has won six titles in the Simeone era, including La Liga and the Copa del Rey.