FOOTBALL – La Liga 2020/21 season is finally at an end. There are two remaining games being played today, but the race for the title was over yesterday (Saturday). Atletico Madrid were crowned the winners.
Following last weekend´s matches, there were only 2 teams remaining with a chance at the title. Atletico Madrid had been holding the top spot for much of the season, but as the months went on, there were 3 others biting at their heels.
Nothing less than a win would do
Atletico were away to Valladolid and Real Madrid were home against Villarreal. Both games kicked off at 6pm. And both teams knew nothing less than a win would do. However, for Real Madrid to be in with a chance, they needed Atletico to slip up.
Going into the game, Valladolid were facing relegation and Villarreal was 23 points behind Real Madrid. A win for Valladolid was also their only option.
Real Valladolid v Atletico Madrid
Valladolid took the lead after just 18 minutes. A counterattack from an Atletico corner, gave them their chance. A pass to Oscar Plano just inside Atletico´s half was all he needed to take the ball on his own and put it convincingly in the net. Despite attempts from Luis Suarez, the first half went to Valladolid. Then 57 minutes in, Correa equalised when he neatly avoided a couple of tackles and squared the ball away into the bottom right corner.
Valladolid fought on, and looked likely to score, however, their hopes were dashed when, just 10 minutes later, a mistake gave Suarez all the space he needed. Yet again, Valladolid had another chance to equalise, but although it was a good effort, Olaza failed to score. There were 10 yellow cards given during the game which ended 1-2 for Atletico Madrid.
Villarreal v Real Madrid
Real Madrid just had 2 minutes in the knowledge that Valladolid had scored against Atletico, before Yeremy Pino scored for Villarreal. At the end of the first half, both Atletico and Real Madrid were one goal down. Again after 57 minutes, Real Madrid looked to equalise by a goal from Benzema. However, it was ruled offside. Fighting hard Benzema just missed the mark again, in the 66th minute when he shot wide.
There were more unsuccessful attempts from both sides until finally the equaliser came from Benzema came in the 87th minute. At this point in game, Real Madrid would have been aware Atletico were one goal up. However, although there was not much time remaining, it was still possible for Real Madrid to claim the title victory. They needed to score one more goal, and for Valladolid to equalise. Two minutes into extra time the extra goal came when, Benzema crossed to Modric scored to make it 2-1 to Real Madrid.
Unfortunately, for Real Madrid, Valladolid failed to equalise and will now be relegated. Villarreal lost their chance in La Liga to automatically qualify for the Europa League group stages. Barcelona and Sevilla (in 3rd and 4th places) had already qualified for the UEFA Champions’ League group stages. There were no cards whatsoever in this game.
What a celebration for Diego Simeone´s men. The celebrations began on the pitch when they threw El Cholo up in the air. It was also an emotional time for Suarez who was in tears when giving his post-match interview.
More football action next week with the “all-England” final of the Champions League when Man City and Chelsea battle it out on Saturday May 29. But before that, on May 26 Villarreal take on Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League Final in Gdansk. The winners of this match will secure a place in the Champions League next season. Due to their domestic premier league status, United have already qualified.