Antoine Griezmann pulled the strings for Atletico Madrid as they demolished Ruben Baraja’s assistant Valencia 3-0 in La Liga on Saturday.
The French forward opened the scoring for the team at the Metropolitano and continued his excellent form with another good display at the heart of Diego Simeone’s team.
Yannick Carrasco doubled Atletico’s lead early in the second half and Thomas Lemar sealed the winner, with the third-placed Rojiblancos six points clear of fourth-placed Real Sociedad after then play a better game.
The defeat leaves Los Che 17th, level with 26 points and Getafe, 18th, which hosts Sevilla on Sunday.
Atletico recorded their fifth win in six La Liga games and strengthened their hold on third place with a confident display, the kind they lacked in the first half of the campaign.
“Before the World Cup nothing happened for us, and now we have everything,” said Atletico midfielder Marcos Llorente to DAZN.
“The team is happy, and they are looking to keep winning games, and the aim is to finish as high as possible.
“We know that all we have left is La Liga so we will try to climb the ranks.
Memphis Depay missed two good chances for Atletico early on before Griezmann broke the deadlock after 23 minutes.
Llorente stepped forward and fed the striker, receiving a stroke of luck with his first touch, which seemed to bounce off his foot and place the ball perfectly, the second was a fine finish for his ninth league goal of the season.
Valencia thought they had responded through Hugo Duro but his attack was ruled out by VAR due to a foul at the other end of the pitch by Dimitri Foulquier.
The first half was tight and even, but Atletico cruised to victory in the second after Carrasco headed home from close range after the break.
Griezmann produced a perfect pass for Alvaro Morata, who left Valencia defender Eray Comert in the dust and crossed for Lemar to head home.
“The team is very good, when the group is good and the team competes the way they compete, it is difficult (to be against),” said Simeone in the DAZN.
“Our finish could have been better, we created chances, but we didn’t have the finish to kill the game, at half time. second came the score.
“We are happy with the growth of the team.”
Samuel Lino hit the post for Valencia late on but they could not muster a consolation on another tense day for Baraja’s side.
“We’re really down, we haven’t had a good game,” Valencia captain Jose Gaya told DAZN.
“The disallowed goal hurt us. (The ref) didn’t think it was a bad thing and with the VAR, he changed the decision.”
The loss was Baraja’s third in five games since taking charge of his former club in February.
“We are very disappointed. Since I was here it was the game that we did not know (like Valencia), “said Baraja.
Rayo Vallecano were held to a 2-2 draw by Girona when Oscar Trejo missed a free-kick that he tried to pass to Isi Palazon.
Trejo saw a first kick hit by Paulo Gazzaniga, but was allowed to take it back for a foul by Girona.
On his second attempt he passed the ball to the onrushing Palazon, who fired over.
In 2016 Barcelona successfully completed the action in La Liga, and Lionel Messi passed a penalty to Luis Suarez, who scored against Celta Vigo.
Trejo and Palazon’s misses brought back memories of Arsenal’s attempt at the same goal against Manchester City in the Premier League in 2005, when Robert Pires attempted a pass to Thierry Henry but was denied. in action.
The draw leaves Rayo in eighth and Girona in 12th.
Celta Vigo won 3-1 at Espanyol with the talented Gabri Veiga scoring a fine goal to continue his good form.