Koke lauds Griezmann 'stroke of genius' as Atletico snatch draw

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The French star won the thanks of his team-mate Koke after his brilliant strike salvaged a point for Diego Simeone's men on the road

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke thanked Antoine Griezmann for the "stroke of genius" that rescued a 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Koke's cross bounced beyond the France star before finding the net to give Atleti the lead after only three minutes at San Mames, but the home side roared back with goals from Inigo Lekue and Oscar de Marcos.

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Griezmann sent a sublime chip into the net after being harshly flagged offside but had better luck 10 minutes from time, blasting a superb low shot in off the post to secure the point.

Koke was relieved to see his team-mate - who has been linked with Manchester United again this week - come up with the goods but admitted that it was a little frustrating not to leave the Basque Country with a win.

"It was very good, intense, with goals on both sides," he told beIN Sports. "The draw is fair given what we saw in the game.

"We always want to win. It's never good to drop two points.

"Given how the game was set, with us winning, we had control and we had chances to score one more goal. But we didn't take advantage of them and they equalised.

"In the end, a stroke of genius from Griezmann got us the draw."

De Marcos powered home a header early in the second half to cap his first start since November 6.

The 27-year-old was thrilled to be back following a foot injury but was disappointed not to hold on for the victory that would have taken them level with sixth-place Villarreal.

"I really wanted to help the team. It's been two months, a long time, and I'm not used to that," he said.

"It's a shame that we lost the points, the team was very good and we did enough to deserve to take all three.

"But they're a great team, they always run you close."

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