Griezmann and Morata double up as Atletico destroy 10-man Celtic
MADRID, Spain (AFP)— Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata struck twice each as Atletico Madrid hammered ragged 10-man Celtic 6-0 on Tuesday to move top of their Champions League group.
Diego Simeone’s side took an early lead through Griezmann but were struggling until Celtic forward Daizen Maeda was dismissed midway through the first half for a high foot.
Morata added a second before the break and Atletico racked up the goals in the second half, with both forwards netting again and Samuel Lino and Saul Niguez also on target.
Atletico’s emphatic win leaves them with eight points, one ahead of Lazio, second, and two ahead of former group leaders Feyenoord, while Celtic are last with only one.
“The team didn’t lower its rhythm of play, they were always looking for more,” a pleased Simeone told Movistar.
“It’s a crunch moment for everyone (in the group), it will be tricky until the end.”
Atletico bounced back strongly from a disappointing defeat at La Liga minnows Las Palmas on Friday to leave Brendan Rodgers’ side on the brink of elimination and record their 16th consecutive home victory across all competitions.
Griezmann struck in the sixth minute, his low effort skidding home with the aid of a deflection off Cameron Carter-Vickers, after Celtic gave him too much time and space on the edge of the box.
Celtic winger Luis Palma showed flashes at the other end as his team dominated the ball in the opening 20 minutes.
However the game changed drastically when Japanese international Maeda was sent off for a high foot on Mario Hermoso.
Although the referee initially gave a yellow card, Maeda was dismissed after VAR intervention — Celtic’s third red card of the competition.
“It’s hard enough at this level with 11 men, that’s two games we’ve had players sent off,” Celtic captain Callum McGregor told TNT Sports.
“(It was) a humbling experience for us.”
After that it was one-way traffic at the Metropolitano, although Jan Oblak tipped away an accidental Morata miskick, heading towards his own goal.
Atletico doubled their lead just before the break when he headed home after a classy team move, with Griezmann finding Jose Gimenez, who nodded the ball back for Morata.
Joe Hart denied Angel Correa and Gimenez hit the bar with a header as Atletico pushed for the third, which came via an acrobatic finish from Griezmann.
The French forward, who was surprisingly withdrawn against Las Palmas with Atletico losing, went off early again, this time to a standing ovation.
Lino added a superb fourth, cutting in from the left and arcing an effort across Hart and into the net, before Correa struck the post.
Atletico’s fifth followed when Morata lashed home his fifth Champions League goal of the season from the edge of the box, giving the despairing Hart no chance.
Saul got in on the act in the final stages, stabbing home from close range after Lino’s attempted strike fell into his path to round off Atletico’s sizeable triumph.
“Their red card gave us an advantage, but we have to continue like this,” Griezmann told Movistar.
“Respecting our opponent, we tried to play as well as possible and not do silly things like try nutmegs.”
The French forward, operating in an attacking midfield role against Celtic, said he was open to playing there if the coach wanted him to.
“I’m learning by watching a lot of football on television — whatever it takes for the club and for Cholo (Simeone),” added Griezmann.