Football: Griezmann fires Atletico level with Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Atletico Madrid moved level on points with La Liga leaders Barcelona after Antoine Griezmann's second-half penalty was enough to see off Espanyol 1-0 on Saturday (Dec 22).

Griezmann smashed home from the spot 10 minutes after the break to give Diego Simeone's side three points from a hard-fought match with mid-table Espanyol that extends Atletico's unbeaten league run to 14 matches.

"It was important to win regardless of how we did it," said Atletico captain Diego Godin.

"We go into the (two-week) winter break happy with the three points."

They stay second but move alongside Barca on 34 points, although the Catalans will have the chance to re-establish their three-point lead at the top of the league when they host Celta Vigo later on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Griezmann, who missed out on a Ballon d'Or despite winning the Europa League with Atletico last season and the World Cup with France in the summer, is on a fine run of form after having saved his side with a late winner at Real Valladolid last week.

His winner on Saturday was his fourth in three games after bagging a brace last week and scoring in Atletico's 3-0 hammering of Alaves a fortnight ago.

"Antoine is an excellent goalscorer," added Godin.

"He works for the team brilliantly and helps with his his goals."