Griezmann's double powers Atletico past Elche

Madrid, Spain ( - Antoine Griezmann netted a pair of second- half goals on Saturday as defending La Liga champions Atletico Madrid rolled to a comfortable 3-0 rout of Elche at the Vicente Calderon.

After falling to local rivals Real Madrid, 1-0, on aggregate in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in midweek, Diego Simeone's team returned to domestic action looking for a second straight win.

The hosts opened the scoring 10 minutes into the second half when Griezmann struck one past Elche goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton and Raul Garcia doubled the lead in the 63rd minute.

Griezmann, the French international, completed his double 13 minutes from time as the champions eased to the three points. Despite the win, the club remains in third place in La Liga with 72 points, nine behind Barcelona at the top of the pack.

Also in the Spanish top flight on Saturday, Barcelona earned its fourth straight win across all competitions with a 2-0 victory over Espanyol courtesy of goals from Neymar and Lionel Messi. Both sides finished with 10 men as Barcelona's Jordi Alba and Espanyol's Hector Moreno both saw red, but the Catalans claimed all three points.

Victor Casadesus's 35th-minute strike was the difference for Levante in a 1-0 win over Getafe, and in the day's final fixture, Real Sociedad and Villarreal played to a scoreless draw.