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Atlético Madrid lucky to have ‘magical’ Griezmann – Simeone

Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone heaped praise on Antoine Griezmann following the forward’s superb goal against Real Madrid on Thursday.

Griezmann scored in extra time as Atlético won 4-2 against their city rivals to reach the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

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“A magical football player like Griezmann appeared,” Simeone said. “He beat Vinícius,[Júnior] who is very quick, in a long race and put the ball into the top corner.

“Antoine scored a spectacular goal, perhaps his best we’ve seen. We are lucky to have him here and that he wants to be here. I hope he can bring us many more nights like this one.”

Griezmann, 32, became Atlético’s all-time top scorer when he found the back of the net in his team’s 5-3 loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa semifinal on Jan. 10.

“We are delighted for Griezmann,” Atlético Madrid captain Koke said. “He scored a fantastic goal.

“We weren’t able to give Griezmann a win last week to celebrate his achievement of becoming the club’s all-time top scorer. Today we can. It’s great to beat your eternal rivals in our stadium.”

Simeone, whose side had also inflicted Real Madrid’s only previous loss of the season in September, thanked Atlético fans for creating a great atmosphere at the Metropolitano stadium.

“We were coming from the hotel to the stadium, and we saw something that made us proud and gives you extra strength to continue working,” he said.

“You just forget for how many years we have been working already in the club. It looks like we just have arrived to the club …. When we were arriving, we saw our fans excited and looking forward for the game, a match that it is only the round of 16 of Copa del Rey … only the Round of 16!

“And you see our fans in that way and it is impossible to not give your all.

“We understood the match very well, we were better in the extra time, and I think we deserve to win. It is more important this win to our fans than to be playing the next round.”

Samuel Lino and Álvaro Morata scored for Atlético in the 90 minutes, with a Jan Oblak own goal and a headed effort from Joselu forcing extra time before Griezmann and Rodrigo Riquelme struck to end Real Madrid’s 21-game unbeaten run.

“No one deserved to lose,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “We gave our all. I think in the end there’s nothing to reproach. We have to look ahead.

“We leave this game with good sensations.”

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