Cape Town - Antoine Griezmann made it back-to-back hat-tricks by putting four goals
past Leganes and now Atletico Madrid's star striker has Barcelona in his
Atletico and their French maestro go up against the La Liga leaders on
Sunday and will arrive brimming with confidence after subjecting Leganes
to a 4-0 demolition, with Griezmann again the star of the show.
His quadruple, fired off in 32 minutes either side of halftime, means he
now has seven goals in two games following last weekend's treble
against Sevilla, and 12 in his last nine. For comparison, Lionel Messi
has hit five goals in the same period.
Atletico have also cut the gap at the top of La Liga to four points,
before Barcelona play their game in hand at Las Palmas on Thursday.
Leganes stay 14th.
But Griezmann will be the player in focus before the weekend, his form
handed extra pertinence given Barca were forced last month to deny they
had already struck a deal to sign the 26-year-old.
"I've never scored at Camp Nou. I want to score and to celebrate,"
Griezmann said. "I want to do something big with my club and my
After Zinedine Zidane paid the price for resting Cristiano Ronaldo in
Real's defeat to Espanyol on Tuesday, Diego Simeone chose not to
preserve his own stars as Griezmann, Diego Costa and Angel Correa all
Both teams rounded the centre circle before kick-off for a minute's
silence in memory of Enrique Castro, the former Barcelona and Spain
striker who died on Tuesday.
Leganes almost took an early lead when Gerard Gumbau's long-range effort
crashed against the crossbar and Griezmann would have been off the mark
sooner had his bending free-kick not also struck the woodwork. But the
forward did not have long to wait.
In the 25th minute, a defence splitting pass from Koke set Griezmann
away and, after shrugging off the scrambling Gumbau, he slid the ball
past Ivan Cuellar.
Ten minutes later Griezmann was celebrating his second. Again he had
Koke to thank, the midfielder winning the foul after a brilliant flick
on the edge of the area and this time Griezmann dispatched the free-kick
with a curling shot into the corner.
Leganes' early impetus was now extinguished and 10 minutes into the second half, Griezmann completed his hat-trick.
After nonchalantly allowing Costa's pass to run through his legs and
reach Filipe Luis, Griezmann darted into the box, jumped high and met
the full-back's cross with a bullet header into the net.
If his first three goals demonstrated speed, technique and movement,
Griezmann's fourth owed much to a slice of luck, a mishit finish from
He could even have had a fifth late on, only for an offside flag to spare the weary Leganes further humiliation.
Despite Griezmann's sparkling individual display, Simeone emphasised the work of his providers.
"It was great work by the team," Simeone said. "Koke, Costa, Filipe -
they were all brilliant passes, which helps his talent to be shown."