Griezmann lifts Atletico past strugglers Rayo

Antoine Griezmann scored a second – half winner as Atletico Madrid defeated neighbours Rayo Vallecano 1 – 0 in La Liga on Saturday to provide a timely boost ahead of next week ’ s Champions League showdown with Juventus .

The French forward netted the only goal on 74 minutes as Atletico shook off two successive defeats , including last week ’ s 3 – 1 loss at home to Real Madrid, to reclaim second place in Spain .

Griezmann struck for the ninth time in his last 11 outings , forcing home from six yards after Alvaro Morata laid off a high , looping ball inside the area .

Diego Simeone ’ s side moved to within four points of leaders Barcelona , who host Real Valladolid later , ahead of Wednesday’ s visit of Italian champions Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real Madrid , two points behind Atletico in third , could move back into second when they host Girona on Sunday.

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