Atletico Madrid hold their nerve on dramatic final day to WIN LaLiga title
Luis Suarez admitted this week he was not prepared for the amount of suffering Atletico Madrid go through – but he made sure there were celebrations to make it all worthwhile as he sealed the LaLiga title in a win at Real Valladolid.
Not since 2013-14 have Atletico got their hands on the domestic title when a certain Diego Costa ran the show in attack.
This time round it was another mercurial striker that handled business and while he has cut an exasperated figure at times this season it was the toothiest of grins that washed over his face when his breakaway goal with 20 minutes to go secured LaLiga honours.
Diego Simeone’s side travelled to Valladolid with a two-point advantage over bitter rivals Real Madrid and knew a win would make whatever Zinedine Zidane’s side did against Villarreal inconsequential. In the end Los Blancos left it left to win 2-1 but it was all in vain.
On a day that promised so much it couldn’t have started much worse for Atletico when Valladolid’s Oscar Plano collected the ball from inside his own half, showed all his pace to race clear on the counter before beating Jan Oblak at his near post.
Valladolid needed a win and then some help in their unlikely bid to avoid the drop and until minute 58 when Angel Correa brilliantly found a yard of space on the edge of the area to fire in for 1-1 there was hope that the Great Escape was on.
In the end the true sign of a champion is being to get up after being knocked down and while Plano’s strike arrived as an early punch, Atletico were firmly on top from that moment and Suarez, himself scoring on the counter midway through the second half, appeared to deliver the knockout blow.
The celebrations were wild, every player rushing to the corner to mob Suarez for his divine intervention.
What must Barcelona be thinking having waved him off to a title rival last summer? It remains one of the most peculiar sales in recent LaLiga history – not that Atletico care too much.
Heads will roll now at both Real and Barcelona. Both could start 2021-22 with new managers. Both will be expected to make moves in the transfer market. Atletico will feel this period of disarray is there to be capitalised on.
More to follow.
credit: All Football