ATLETICO MADRID CROWNED THE NEW LA LIGA CHAMPIONS
By: Msizi Mkhize
The thrilling La Liga decider match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid ended in a one goal draw, crowning Atletico the new La Liga champions since the 1995-96 season at a packed Nou Camp stadium on Saturday.
Barcelona needed to beat Atletico in a final fixture match to snatch the league title away from the log leaders as Alexis Sanchez scored a sensational opener in the 33rd minute. However, four minutes into the second half, Diego Godin’s header was enough to give Atletico the point they needed to become the first side other than Barca and Real Madrid to win the La Liga silverware in 10 years.
Atletico’s double-blow gave Barcelona a boost as Diego Costa pulled his hamstring and was forced off, he couldn’t control his emotions as he broke down in tears on the bench.
Barcelona began creating chances with Alexis and Pedro but failed to convert after excellent crosses from the Brazilian international offensive right back Dani Alves. Tempers flared before half time with four players cautioned in 10 minutes before the break and Atletico came out breathing fire when the game resumed.
“We have fought all year and the work we have done is amazing. To last 38 games against two great teams Real Madrid and Barcelona is incredibly difficult,” Atletico’s Diego Godin told Canal Plus. “The boss told us at half time that we are going to score a goal. In the end football has been fair to us.”
“Congratulations to Atletico. They are deserving champions,” said Barca captain for the day Andres Iniesta. “We had our chances until the final game but they have been better and there is nothing more to say. We are hurt to lode the league in the final game,” he added.
Barca finished a disappointing season without a major trophy in the cabinet for the first time in six years. Meanwhile, Atletico saw the game out to stretch their unbeaten run against Barcelona to six games this season. And, Gerardo Martino decided to part ways with Barca as he failed to collect any silverware for the team this season.