Antoine Griezmann scores two, sets up one to jump-start Atletico Madrid’s season

Atletico Madrid's win came after disappointing draws with recently promoted Leganes and Alaves in the first two rounds,

By: AP | Barcelona | Published:September 11, 2016 2:10 am
Antoine Griezmann, Griezmann, Atletico madrid, atleti, atletico madrid vs celta vigo, celta vigo, real madrid, barcelona, la liga, football, football news, sports, sports news Antoine Griezmann played a key role in Atletico Madrid’s first league win of the season against Celta Vigo. (Source: Reuters)

Needing to jump-start its Spanish league title challenge, Atletico Madrid turned to Antoine Griezmann for its first win of the season on Saturday.

Griezmann scored twice after setting up Atletico’s opener in the second half to lead a 4-0 victory at Celta Vigo.

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up where he left off following his decisive penalty in last May’s Champions League final. The Real Madrid winger scored six minutes into his first match of the season to help them brush off Osasuna 5-2.

Atletico’s win came after disappointing draws with recently promoted Leganes and Alaves in the first two rounds, leaving it trailing title rivals Barcelona and Madrid.

Griezmann had been scathing in his criticism after those draws, warning that the team could be in the “relegation fight” instead of the title race for a fourth straight year.

Griezmann led by example at Balaidos Stadium, setting up and converting scoring chances to spark a stalled Atletico attack.

His move wide allowed Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion to slip forward, and Griezmann met his run with a pin-point cross for the midfielder to volley home in the 52nd minute.

Griezmann’s delicate header put Saul Niguez’s cross into the corner of the net, and he followed that with a second header from Juanfran Torres’ service. Substitute Angel Correa scored late.

The France forward also apologized for doubting his team.

“I had to play a match like that,” Griezmann said. “I am very happy with the team, for our effort. I want to say I am sorry for what I said (after the Leganes draw) because I shouldn’t have said it in public.”

REAL MADRID 5 OSASUNA 2

Sidelined since the Euro 2016 final won by his Portugal, Ronaldo showed no signs of lingering effects of the left-knee injury on his season debut.

Not that Osasuna posed much of a test.

A long ball for Gareth Bale left him and Ronaldo all alone to complete an easy breakaway. Bale laid off for Ronaldo to tap into the open net.

“I feel fine physically,” Ronaldo said. “The truth is that after a serious injury there are certain actions that you are a little scared to do, but that is normal.”

Osasuna’s Unai Garcia hit the crossbar moments before right back Danilo doubled Madrid’s lead in the 40th.

Central defenders Sergio Ramos and Pepe headed in goals from corners on either side of halftime. Luka Modric made it five goals from long range in the 62nd, then Oriol Riera and David Garcia scored for Osasuna.

SEVILLA 2 LAS PALMAS 1

Two late goals transformed the jeers into cheers at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Las Palmas’ tenacious defense after Pedro “Tana” Dominguez put the visitors ahead in the 16th was frustrating both Sevilla’s attack, and its fans.

But Pedro Bigas was whistled for a questionable foul in the area with a minute to play, allowing Pablo Sarabia to level from the penalty spot.

With Bigas sent off for his second yellow card, Sevilla scored on the last kick of the match when Carlos Fernandez scrambled home a corner to grab the 2-0 win.

Villarreal also won 2-0 at Malaga for its first victory of the season.

Neymar was to play his first league match of the season later Saturday when Barcelona hosted Alaves.