2017/18: Griezmann inspires Atlético to glory

French striker Antoine Griezmann struck twice in the final in Lyon as Atlético triumphed again.

Atlético celebrate Antoine Griezmann's second goal
Atlético celebrate Antoine Griezmann's second goal ©AFP/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann had a homecoming to savour as Atlético lifted the UEFA Europa League trophy for the third time in nine seasons.

Brought up some 70km from final venue Lyon, Griezmann scored a goal in each half against Marseille to capture his first major title. The opener came against the run of play after a fateful piece of miscontrol by André Zambo Anguissa, his second was a majestic finish early in the second period. "Cold-blooded," he said.

Final highlights
Final highlights

In truth, OM's hopes had all but vanished when Dimitri Payet limped off before the half-hour. A disappointing end for one of the stars of the competition, the inspiration behind OM's quarter-final recovery against Leipzig where, early in the second leg, the French side had found themselves needing to score at least three.

That, though, was not even the best comeback of the night, let alone the competition. Step forward an excellent young Salzburg side, who struck three second-half goals in four minutes and four seconds to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 victory over Lazio. The Austrian champions bowed out to Marseille in the semis.

Atlético lift the trophy in Lyon
Atlético lift the trophy in Lyon

The other last-four fixture saw Atlético beat Arsenal despite being down to ten men for 80 minutes of the first leg. Diego Simeone said that performance summed up his side perfectly: passionate, committed and deadly. The final underlined it, with captain Gabi salting Marseille wounds by making it 3-0 late on.

Top scorers: Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) 8
Most assists
: Dmitri Payet (Marseille) 7
Final man of the match
: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético)

Top ten goals of the UEFA Europa League season
Top ten goals of the UEFA Europa League season

Season landmarks

  • Griezmann became the ninth player to score twice in a one-off UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League final – no one has managed a hat-trick.
  • Atlético moved alongside Internazionale, Juventus and Liverpool on three UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League triumphs. Only five-time winners Sevilla have more.
  • It was Marseille's third UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League final defeat. The only other team to have lost three and not lifted the trophy are Benfica.
  • AEK Athens recorded seven successive draws between matchday two and the second leg of their round of 32 tie against Dynamo Kyiv – they bowed out unbeaten, on away goals.

  • Real Sociedad's 6-0 group stage defeat of Vardar in Skopje equals the biggest win in UEFA Europa League history and set a new bar for the heaviest margin of victory on the road.

  • Vardar were first Macedonian team to reach a UEFA men's club group stage.
  • For the first time since 2011/12 there was not a single penalty shoot-out in the UEFA Europa League season.
  • Salzburg's run to the semi-finals featured 20 games, equalling the record for a European campaign shared by Bordeaux (1995/96) and Basel (2012/13).
  • Lazio became only the second team to lose after scoring five across a UEFA Europa League tie as three goals in four minutes and four seconds helped Salzburg to a remarkable 6-5 comeback victory in the last eight.
  • Salzburg stretched their unbeaten sequence to 18 games before the first leg against Lazio, falling just three short of Ajax's 22-year-old competition record.
  • Aritz Aduriz took his tally to 18 UEFA Europa League group stage goals, a competition high, while Rapid Wien defender Mario Sonnleitner set a new mark for appearances (31).

Squad of the season