La Liga round-up: Luis Suarez goal secures title for Atlético Madrid

Real Madrid score two late goals to beat Villarreal but lose out to city rivals

Luis Suarez celebrates scoring  Atlético  Madrid’s second goal during the La Liga  match against  Real Valladolid   at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla  in Valladolid. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Luis Suarez celebrates scoring Atlético Madrid’s second goal during the La Liga match against Real Valladolid at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla in Valladolid. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

 

Atlético Madrid pipped city rivals Real Madrid to the La Liga title on Saturday after Luis Suarez fired them to a 2-1 comeback win at Real Valladolid, which secured them the Spanish championship for the first time in seven years.

Valladolid took a shock lead in the 18th minute when Oscar Plano slotted past Jan Oblak to complete a sweeping counterattack after Yannick Carrasco had lost control of the ball following an Atlético corner.

Just as they had done in last week’s comeback win over Osasuna, Atlético missed a series of clear opportunities but they drew level after a moment of magic from Angel Correa, who danced his way through the defence before arrowing into the bottom corner in the 57th minute.

Suarez then pounced on a giveaway by the Valladolid defence to score in the 67th and put Atlético on their way to a victory that would secure the title no matter what happened in Real Madrid’s game at home to Villarreal.

Valladolid missed a couple of glaring opportunities down the other end while Geoffrey Kondogbia wasted a chance that would have given Atlético a more relaxing finish when he blasted into the side-netting.

Real Madrid ended up fighting their way back from a goal down to beat Villarreal 2-1 which meant they would have swiped the title from Atlético’s hands if Valladolid had equalised thanks to a better head-to-head record.

However, Diego Simeone’s side saw out the victory and wildly celebrated on the pitch.

“Atlético have had an incredible season despite all the difficulties we’ve had. We’ve been the most consistent team and we are champions,” said Suarez.

The game was played behind closed doors like all of Atlético’s matches this season although several hundred supporters cheered them on from outside the stadium.

Atlético finished top of the standings on 86 points while Real came second on 84. Valladolid finished 19th and were relegated to Spain’s second division along with 18th-place Huesca and Eibar, who finished bottom.

Simeone’s side went top in December after a sensational start to the campaign and stayed there despite numerous moments when it looked like their run to the title might fizzle out.

They were beaten at Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in April and conceded a last-minute penalty away to Elche but got away with a 1-0 victory when Fidel Chaves hit the post.

They left it late to beat Osasuna in last week’s penultimate match and lived dangerously against Valladolid, too.

“Our first half of the season wasn’t normal and neither was the slump we had,” added Suarez, who joined Atletico last year after being forced out by Barcelona.

The Uruguayan, 34, was close to tears after the game and thanked Simeone’s side for giving him a chance to keep proving himself at the top level.

“The situation I had to live through was very difficult, I was treated badly. But Atletico opened the door for me to prove I was still good enough,” he said.

Simeone added: “To stay top of the league for so long is an enormous achievement. I’m so grateful to the players, especially those who played less, as we had to stay united behind the same objective as a team, and we did that throughout.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.