Atletico’s players celebrate with head coach Diego Simeone (top) after the Spanish league football match between Real Valladolid CF and Atletico de Madrid in Valladolid, Spain, on May 22, 2021. (La Liga/handout via Xinhua)
MADRID, May 22 (Xinhua) — Goals from Angel Correa and Luis Suarez saw Atletico Madrid come back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Real Valladolid to claim their first La Liga title since the 2013-14 season.
Atletico took the spoils on a dramatic afternoon where fortunes shifted over the 90 minutes of the last round of matches, which kicked off with both Atletico and Real Madrid having a chance of lifting the title.
Knowing a win would assure them of the title regardless of Real Madrid’s result at home to Villarreal, Atletico began nervously and were caught flat-footed on the break in the 18th minute.
Valladolid cleared an Atletico corner and with the visitors’ defense out of position, the ball was threaded through to Oscar Plano, who began his run in his own half and beat Jan Oblak at his near post.
Moments later, Villarreal opened the scoring away to Real Madrid, with Yeremy Pino producing a wonderful piece of control from Gerard Moreno’s pass before beating Thibaut Courtois.
Villarreal looked solid throughout the first half and Real Madrid’s best chance was a Luka Modric effort that flashed just wide.
Things began to swing Atletico’s way in the 57th minute when Karim Benzema thought he had equalized for Real, only for VAR to rule his goal out for a marginal offside, and while this was going on, Angel Correa scored an excellent goal for Atletico to make it 1-1 in Valladolid.
Luis Suarez then scored the decisive goal when he put Atletico ahead in the 66th minute, latching onto a poor backpass and then sliding the ball past Jordi Masip to net his 21st league goal of the campaign.
Back in Valdebebas, Karim Benzema curled a shot into the top corner of the Villarreal net in the 87th minute to make it 1-1.
Modric finished the fightback for Real Madrid in the 92nd minute, but by then Atletico had fulfilled their end of the bargain, and although Modric’s goal meant the last minute in Valladolid was more nervous that it would have been, Atletico held on to claim the title and start their celebrations.
The last day also saw the battle for Europe resolved, with Real Sociedad finishing fifth after a 1-0 win away to Osasuna thanks to Alexander Isak’s late goal.
Real Betis finish sixth to claim the second UEFA Europa League place after goals from Borja Iglesias, Nabil Fekir and Victor Ruiz saw them fight back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 away to Celta Vigo, while Villarreal finish seventh to qualify for the new UEFA Conference League. However, Unai Emery’s men will also qualify for the UEFA Champions League if they can beat Manchester United in next week’s Europa League final.
Elche beat Athletic Bilbao to pull off a great escape and avoid relegation thanks to goals from Lucas Boye and Raul Guti. That win condemns Huesca to the second division as they could only draw 0-0 at home to Valencia, while Valladolid’s defeat to Atletico ended their slim hopes of survival.
Finally, Antoine Griezmann gave FC Barcelona a 1-0 win in Eibar in what is likely to be Ronald Koeman’s last game in charge. Enditem
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