MADRID (AP) — Antoine Griezmann scored a goal the day after being named the world’s third-best player, helping Atletico Madrid reach the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey despite a 3-2 home loss to Las Palmas on Tuesday.
The France forward missed training to attend FIFA’s awards ceremony in Zurich, where Cristiano Ronaldo took the vote as the best player. But Griezmann got back to Spain in time to help Atletico defend a 2-0 first-leg win and advance 4-3 on aggregate at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Griezmann, who got a loud ovation from the crowd when he was substituted in the 64th minute, has scored in all three matches Atletico has played this year. He hadn’t found the net in five straight games before the winter break.
He was runner-up to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at FIFA’s event in Switzerland on Monday.
Griezmann opened the scoring from close range in the 49th minute after a cross by Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan. Las Palmas striker Marko Livaja equalised with a shot from inside the area in the 57th, and Argentine forward Angel Correa put the hosts ahead again in a breakaway in the 61st .
Livaja netted in the 89th and Mateo Garcia scored in injury time to give Las Palmas victory on the night.
“We let the win escape in the final minutes, but we are happy that we advanced,” Correa said.
Atletico is trying to win the competition for the first time since 2012-13, when it defeated Real Madrid in the final at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
In addition to beating Las Palmas in the first leg last week, Atletico had also defeated the club from the Canary Islands in its last league match before the winter break in December.
“We needed another goal there in the end,” Las Palmas defender David Garcia said. “We are happy with the way we played. We knew it was going to be difficult after the 2-0 loss at home.”
Four second-leg matches will be played on Wednesday, with two-time defending champion Barcelona hosting Athletic Bilbao and needing to overcome a 2-1 loss in Bilbao.