Luis Suarez scores the winner as Atletico Madrid secure a narrow win over Real Valladolid to beat arch-rivals Real Madrid to the 2020/21 La Liga title.

It was a poor first-half performance from Los Colchoneros, who looked so determined to win the game that they lacked any systemic approach towards the opposition backline. It was a direct push from Diego Simeone’s men, which caused no problems at all the Real Valladolid.

What did shock Atleti, though, was an 18th-minute opener from Oscar Plano as the Valladolid winger scored from a lightning counter-attack to give his side an early lead. It forced the league leaders to push hard in search of an equaliser, although Real Madrid conceding a goal against Villarreal at the same time, might have provided a welcome distraction.

There was a bit more technicality about Atletico Madrid’s approach after the restart, as they started to make more runs in behind the Valladolid defence. Their goal, though, came through some individual brilliance from Angel Correa, as his quick feet and lethal finish saw him level the scoring in the 57th minute.

Ten minutes later, Atletico were gifted their second goal when an attempt backpass from Sergio Guardiola found Luis Suarez, who beat Jordi Masip in a one-on-one situation to put his team in the lead. After that, it was nervous episode of defending from the visitors, who somehow managed to keep hold of their slender advantage and ultimately seal the Liga title.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Atletico Madrid players in their 2-1 win over Real Valladolid this weekend.

Jan Oblak: 6/10

Jan Oblak didn’t have too much to do, but he may have done a bit better in preventing Plano from scoring an early goal, as he was beaten at his near post. The Atleti goalkeeper otherwise had a quiet game, except having to stop a long-range effort later in the game. Although disappointed with the failed clean sheet, he ends the campaign by winning the Ricardo Zamora trophy.

Jose Gimenez: 6.5/10

Jose Gimenez wasn’t troubled much defensively, given the fact that Valladolid mostly tried to attack from the left hand side of the Atletico Madrid defence. The centre-back, nevertheless, tried to influence his team and bring a sense of stability into the side. Not the most eventful game for him though.

Felipe: 7.5/10

Felipe was by far Atletico’s best defender of the evening. The Brazilian looked rock solid right from the beginning, making multiple recoveries, while his game-reading ability helped him neutralise many potential counter-attack opportunities for the opposition. He was also a threat from indirect set-pieces, notably having an attempt on goal in the first half.

Mario Hermoso: 5/10

Mario Hermoso had a poor start to the game, looking very sloppy in dealing with the threat of Oscar Plano. He lacked persistence in his positioning, often arriving late to pressurise the opposition ball carriers. Diego Simeone was quick to identify that problem, as he subbed him off around the hour-mark.

Kieran Trippier: 6.5/10

Kieran Trippier has been a lethal weapon for Atletico Madrid down the right hand channel this channel. Against Valladolid, he was hardly useful, often lacking precision with his crosses. The right-back was deadlier in the second half, but the return to a 4-4-2 did eventually minimise his freedom going forward.

Marcos Llorente: 6.5/10

Marcos Llorente could not become the main difference for Los Colchoneros like he usually is. Operating in the right side of the midfield, the former Real Madrid man wasn’t able to involve himself in goalscoring situations. He was, in fact, quite ineffective in possession, often having to spread the ball out wide while his trademark runs into the box were also missing.  Improved in the second half, before making way for Geoffrey Kondogbia late in the game.

Koke: 7/10

Koke operated in the deepest role in the three-man Atletico Madrid. The experienced Spaniard was tasked with the responsibility of dictating the tempo of the game with his passing and distribution. He had problems controlling the game in the first half, but things improved after the restart. The midfielder also recovered possession multiple times for his team, preventing Valladolid from causing any problems.

Saul Niguez: 6/10

Saul Niguez never really found his footing in the game, struggling to impose his authority in the middle of the park. He was quite ineffective in possession, often getting hurried by the Valladolid players. The midfielder initially did well to spread the ball under pressure but was not involved in any particular deadly attacking situation for Atleti. Subbed off around the hour mark.

Yannick Carrasco: 6.5/10

Yannick Carrasco lost the ball out wide, which led to the counter-attack for Plano’s early opener. Although it would be harsh to blame the Belgian for the goal, he was indeed quite ineffective. Carrasco did make some useful runs in behind the defence in the second half, but not enough to constantly bombard the Valladolid backline.

Angel Correa: 7.5/10

Angel Correa had a miserable first half, struggling to cause any real problems for the opposition. Fortunately for Atletico Madrid, he wasn’t subbed off at half-time – a move that paid off well for Diego Simeone, as the Argentine scored a majestic goal in the 57th minute to get the all-important equaliser.

Aside from the goal, Correa looked very dangerous overall as well, particularly with his runs in behind the channel causing problems for the backline. A great end to the campaign for the in-form attacker.

Luis Suarez: 7.5/10

Luis Suarez lacked the necessary services from his teammates in the first half to cause any sort of nuisance inside the box. In fact, the veteran forward largely had a quiet game, bereft of any particular scoring opportunities, up until the 67th minute when an awful backpass from Sergio Guardiola put him clean through on goal. He did not make any mistake to convert the chance, thereby sealing the title for Atletico Madrid.

Substitutes

Joao Felix: 7/10

Joao Felix’s introduction around the hour mark was an important one for Atletico Madrid. Although the Portuguese sensation was not directly involved in any of the goals, he did offer a creative presence that was missing in the final third for the visitors.

Renan Lodi: 6.5/10

Renan Lodi looked shaky after replacing Hermoso around the hour mark. He was too eager to impress but was not very precise with his shooting or tackling. Improved as the game progressed, helping his team see out the lead.

Geoffrey Kondogbia: N/A

A late replacement for Llorente. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Hector Herrera: N/A

A late replacement for Correa. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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