Antoine Griezmann scored a clinical brace as Atletico Madrid won the Europa League for the third time in its nine-year history with a ruthless 3-0 victory over Marseille.
Griezmann pounced on a defensive mistake to open the scoring in the first half and then produced another textbook finish just after the break to end the French side’s challenge.
Marseille substitute Konstantinos Mitroglou’s header hit a post late on and Gabi capped a dominant Atletico display when he drove a shot into the bottom corner.
If, as expected, the forward leaves Atletico this summer, he gave his club of four years the perfect parting gift. The Barcelona and Manchester United target finished the season with 29 goals and laid on another 13. Atletico have had few problems replacing quality strikers in the past, but they face a difficult task in the upcoming transfer window.
Atletico made a nervy start as Marseille flew out of the blocks but they took control in trademark fashion after the French outfit hit the self-destruct button. Andre Zambo Anguissa miscontrolled a pass from goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and Griezmann was never going to miss after being played in by Koke.
The France international defied a thigh injury to lead Marseille out in Lyon but he lasted little over half an hour. Payet dropped to the turf with nobody around him before taking off the captain’s armband and slowly leaving the field in tears. He was consoled by his team-mates as well as international colleague Griezmann, who may fear Payet’s name will be missing when France announce their World Cup squad on Thursday.
15 - AtlÃ©tico Madrid have won each of their last 15 Europa League games in which they have led at half-time. Resilience. pic.twitter.com/jAnlUA0mGX— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 16, 2018
Once Atletico went ahead, history suggested Marseille had no chance of a comeback. The Spanish side enhanced their fearsome reputation as a front-runner by completely shutting out Rudi Garcia’s men.
Marseille: Steve Mandanda 4, Malang Sarr 5, Adil Rami 5, Luiz Gustavo 5, Jordan Amavi 5, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa 4, Morgan Sanson 5, Florian Thauvin 5, Dimitri Payet 6, Lucas Ocampos 5, Valere Germain 5.
Subs: Maxime Lopez (on for Payet, 32) 5, Clinton Njie (on for Ocampos, 55) 5, Konstantinos Mitroglou (on for Germain, 74) 5.
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak 6, Sime Vrsaljko 5, Jose Gimenez 7, Diego Godin 7, Lucas Hernandez 7, Angel Correa 7, Gabi 7, Saul Niguez 7, Koke 7, Antoine Griezmann 9, Diego Costa 7.
Subs: Juanfran (on for Vrsaljko, 45) 7, Thomas Partey (on for Correa, 88) N/A, Fernando Torres (on for Griezmann, 90) N/A.