ESPN FC’s Mark Donaldson and Ale Moreno go head-to-head in predicting some of the more notable La Liga fixtures during week 22.

Antoine Griezmann said his team needed to keep battling to catch Barcelona after his goal earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win at struggling Malaga on Saturday.

Atletico were ahead after just 40 seconds when Griezmann finished after a Saul Niguez shot was deflected into his path.

After the break, visiting goalkeeper Jan Oblak made an outstanding save from Roberto Rosales’ free kick, but victory kept Atletico second, six points behind Barcelona.

Asked on beIN SPORTS whether he would watch Barca’s game against Getafe on Sunday, Griezmann said: “No — I will be with my daughter.

“We have a game on Thursday [in the Europa League], so we want to rest well and prepare for that.”

Griezmann said it had been “important” for Atleti to make sure of maximum points against struggling opponents.

He added: “We knew it would be difficult, but these are the games we like to play, and like to win.

“Now we need to keep fighting and try and win all the games that remain, and then we will see where we are.”

Griezmann played most of the game in a withdrawn attacking role behind Diego Costa, and was back by his own corner flag regaining possession in added time.

“If I cannot help in attack, then I will in defence,” he said. “I’m feeling good physically, and hopefully can keep going like this.”

The France international dedicated the victory to the memory of Atletico fan Nacho Barbera, who died last week at the age of 15 while playing for youth team UD Alzira.

“It was a game for El Cholito, as any loss is always a great sadness,” he said.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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