At the start of this campaign, no fan would have expected that the La Liga title will be decided on the final game of the season which will be won by the teams playing each other. But now, it is a reality and there could be no better finish for this breathtaking season as FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will play for the title at Camp Nou.
All three title contenders faltered on eventful Sunday which mean that Real Madrid are officially out of the title race now. Diego Simeone’s Atletico missed the chance to clinch their first La Liga since 1996 as they were held by Malaga, while Barcelona also failed to win at Elche.
Now, just three points separate Atletico and Barca ahead of the all important game at the Camp Nou and if Barca win at home, they take the title on head-to-head record. Otherwise, any other result will make Atletico the winners.
Diego Simeone Atletico were nowhere near their usual best against Malaga as absence of Diego Costa was there to see and whose presence was missed more than ever. Málaga are not safe from the relegation yet and they played with their hearts out. They needed a point, and they got it. Willi Cabellaro gave another memorable performance in the goal as he stopped many goal scoring opportunities of Atletico.
David Villa who was playing for the injured Diego Costa came closest to scoring in the first half, hitting the bar when one-on-one with Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero. Atletico dominated the game but were made to pay for their inability to score when Samuel Garcia gave Malaga a shock lead in the 65th minute. Toby Alderweirald scored an equalizer in the 74th through header but Atletico did not manage to score a winning goal as Malaga hold their nerves. Cabellaro saved a brilliant shot from Adrain Lopez in the stoppage time which may prove crucial for Atletico’s title hopes.
The game between Elche and Barcelona also ended in a stalemate. Fc Barcelona went to Elche three points behind leaders Atletico. Barca controlled the whole game with their possession but failed to score even a single goal thanks to the organized defence of Elche and excellent goal keeping of Manu. Manu made some very critical saves against the shots of Iniesta and Messi (twice) which proved enough to win a crucial point for them. The game plan of Elche was simple. They defended in number and sent long passes to their forwards whenever they won the possession. But their strikers did not manage to threaten the defence of Barcelona in whole game.
Meanwhile, Celta recorded a 2-0 surprise win over Real Madrid at the Balaidos to shatter the title hopes of Los Blancos. Celta striker Charles scored both goals as Real missed the presence of match winning attackers Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. The only good news coming out of this game for Real Madrid was Sami Khedira’s come back from long lay-off due to injury.