Antoine Griezmann scored all four goals as Atlético Madrid swatted aside Leganes 4-0 in La Liga on Wednesday to cut the gap on leaders Barcelona to four points. Barcelona visit Las Palmas on Thursday before hosting Atlético on Sunday.
The French forward Griezmann bagged two goals in each half in a stunning display to become the first Atlético player this century to score hat-tricks in successive league games. He also became the first Atlético player to net four in a match since Radamel Falcao in 2012 and brought up his 100th goal for the club he joined in 2014.
Leganes had started strongly and were unfortunate not to open the scoring. Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak tipped Gerard Gumbau’s thunderous effort on to the bar before Filipe Luis blocked Gabriel’s follow-up on the line in a frantic opening quarter in which Griezmann struck the woodwork.
The Frenchman made no mistake, however, as he ran on to Koke’s sumptuous through ball to finish after 25 minutes and soon doubled his tally with a stunning free-kick.
The hat-trick was completed with a towering header before Griezmann volleyed in a fourth to complete an eighth successive victory for Diego Simeone’s team in all competitions.
Fourth-placed Valencia are a point behind Real Madrid after drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
Los Che were on course to leapfrog Real – who lost 1-0 at Espanyol on Tuesday – into third place until Óscar de Marcos brought Athletic level with a strike four minutes after the break.
Geoffrey Kondogbia gave Valencia the lead in the first half with a fine strike in the 23rd minute, and the veteran Athletic striker Aritz Aduriz then had a 36th-minute penalty saved by Neto, the spot-kick being given following Jeison Murillo’s tackle on Markel Susaeta.
Sevilla bounced back from being thrashed 5-2 at home by Atlético Madrid on Sunday, winning 1-0 at rock-bottom Málaga, with Joaquin Correa scoring in the 15th minute.
It was a fourth successive defeat for Málaga whose search for a first victory under José González extended into a sixth game.
Also still winless under their new manager are Clarence Seedorf’s 19th‑placed Deportivo La Coruña after their 3-0 defeat at Getafe.
In Deportivo’s fourth game with Seedorf in charge, Angel’s 40th-minute opener was followed by an Eneko Bóveda own goal four minutes later. Jorge Molina added Getafe’s third eight minutes from time. Málaga and Deportivo are seven and two points adrift of safety respectively.