Atletico Madrid’s title hopes were all but ended by a shock loss to Sporting Gijon in La Liga on Saturday afternoon.
Griezmann gave Atletico an early lead, but two goals in the final ten minutes from Antonio Sanabria and Carlos Castro completed a stunning turnaround.
Atletico lined up in a 4-4-2 with Luciano Vietto and Angel Correa leading the line and being supported by Koke and Matias Kranevitter in centre midfield.
Sporting Gijon went with a 4-3-3 formation that only featured two non-Spanish nationals.
The game started at an extraordinarily slow pace, with Madrid presumably drained from their midweek Champions League exploits against PSV Eindhoven; a game that went all the way to penalties.
Gijon enjoyed a couple of early corners, but we didn’t see a shot on goal until the half-hour mark. Ironically, that turned out to be the opening goal – as Antoine Griezmann lashed a free-kick into the top corner after a foul from Pablo Perez.
If anything, the goal was against the run of play – Gijon had enjoyed 60 percent possession up to that point.
The goal seemed to spark the game into life – Perez almost immediately atoned for his costly foul when he sent an easy header over the bar in the 34th minute, and both sides had more gusto in attack – even if shots on goal were few and far between.
Alberto Lora almost equalised at the start of the second half, but his effort just missed the top corner.
Thereafter, the game once again entered a lull; Madrid were visibly happy to try and hold their 1-0 lead, while Gijon appeared to be wary of overcommitting too many men and letting their opponents get out of sight.
Pablo Perez went close again in the 70th minute but Jan Oblak was alert to the danger, while Luciano Vietto couldn’t get a head on Saul’s cross at the other end.
Gijon eventually nabbed a deserved equaliser with ten minutes to go. The goal once again came from a free-kick, as Antonio Sanabria smashed the ball in from the edge of the area.
A stunning turnaround was complete in the 89th minute as Gijon scored a second. A run from Jony caused confusion in the Madrid defence and Carlos Castro was on hand to poke home from close range.
The loss means Barcelona are almost certain to win La Liga – they are eight points clear with a game in hand. Madrid have just eight games remaining. Gijon move to within a point of Getafe and satefy at the bottom of the table.
Atletico Madrid will now face Real Betis next Saturday, then will visit Barcelona in the Champions League the following Tuesday.
Sporting Gijon will go to fellow strugglers Levante next Monday.