La Liga: 'Antoine Griezmann's great,' says Barcelona coach

Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 07:54 IST | AFP | Madrid

Coach Quique Setien hails Antoine's sensational goal as 4-1 victory over Villarreal keeps Barca's title hopes alive

Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann (right) celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi after scoring against Villarreal in a La Liga match. Pic/AFP
Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann (right) celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi after scoring against Villarreal in a La Liga match. Pic/AFP

Antoine Griezmann answered his critics in style on Sunday by scoring with a sensational chip as Barcelona thrashed Villarreal 4-1 to keep their faint La Liga title hopes alive.

After the humiliation of being brought on in the 90th minute against his former club Atletico Madrid, Griezmann was back in the starting line-up at La Ceramica and repaid the faith with a stunning goal, teed up by Lionel Messi.

"It was the kind of goal only great players can score," said Barcelona coach Quique Setien. "He played a spectacular match." Messi also laid on a curling Luis Suarez shot into the top corner after Gerard Moreno cancelled out a Pau Torres own-goal that had put Barca in front. Ansu Fati then added a fourth late on.

Quique Setien
Quique Setien

An impressive victory for Setien's side reduces the gap back to four points behind Real Madrid, who earlier ground out another 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames, with a Sergio Ramos penalty proving the difference.

Madrid's resilient performance, and their third 1-0 victory in a row, offered a stark contrast to a goal-fest from Barcelona that was certainly easier on the eye but instructive on the title race too.

An end-to-end contest, full of chances for both sides, showed Messi, Suarez and Griezmann at their free-flowing best yet the defence was opened up with ease by Villarreal, who might have scored more. Madrid's discipline and organisation has made them firm favourites with four games remaining. "We needed this match a while ago," admitted Setien. "We have to keep adding points and we'll see what happens."

Griezmann had experienced his lowest moment since joining Barcelona on Tuesday in the draw against Atletico but this was the perfect response. He celebrated his goal by sharing a warm embrace with Messi.

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