Griezmann Scores Four As Atletico Close Gap On Barca

The La Liga leaders appeared on course to restore their seven-point cushion over Atletico Madrid at the top of the table thanks to Lionel Messi's 21st-minute free-kick.

When the final whistle sounded, unused Barca substitute Gerard Pique ran towards the officials in a fit of rage and had to be restrained, while usually level-headed coach Ernesto Valverde lost his cool when Chichizola was let off the hook.

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 started.

"There are a lot of questions and reasons why the schedule is the way it is". The team was more forceful than in Sevilla at the end of the game [where Atleti conceded two late goals] - that speaks of an improvement.

"Obviously, that's not Atletico's fault".

"A lot of time they play on Thursday because of the Europa League and then they have to play Sunday".

Diego Simeone's side have overcome a hard start to the campaign, which saw them eliminated from the Champions League, by winning eight games in a row in all competitions.

Atletico's Antoine Griezmann greets fans after their 1-1 draw in the Champions League Group C soccer match againt Chelsea at Stamford Bridge stadium in London. Antoine Griezmann is giving Atletico Madrid

"But we knew that it was a hard ground to come to, even though they're in the bottom three".

While the draw sees Barca extend their unbeaten league record, they are now just five points clear of Atletico in second. "I think the referees in the Premier League are the best in Europe".

Aguirregaray summed up the home side's courageous display when he produced a desperate tackle from behind on Messi, securing Las Palmas a point that will also be celebrated in the Spanish capital.

Messi appeared Barca's most likely to score, but Las Palmas were nearly gifted a victor as Alen Halilovic was unmarked in the box.

"Quite the contrary, you have to be able to overcome that", he said.

Barca went for the victory in the closing stages, but the hosts' spirit was fantastic as they battled for a point. "They pressured us high up the pitch and we knew that they weren't going to lose face". That's no help to us.

  • Julie Sanders