Atletico Madrid clinch La Liga title thanks to Suarez winner
Atletico Madrid pipped city rivals Real Madrid to the La Liga title on Saturday after Luis Suarez fired them to a 2-1 comeback win at Real Valladolid.
Valladolid took a shock lead in the 18th minute when Oscar Plano slotted past Jan Oblak to complete a sweeping counterattack after Yannick Carrasco had lost control of the ball following an Atletico corner.
Just as they had done in last week’s comeback win over Osasuna, Atletico missed a series of clear opportunities but they drew level after a moment of magic from Angel Correa, who danced his way through the defence before arrowing into the bottom corner in the 57th minute.
Suarez then pounced on a giveaway by the Valladolid defence to score in the 67th and put Atletico on their way to a victory that would secure the title no matter what happened in Real Madrid’s game at home to Villarreal.
Atletico finished top of the standings on 86 points while Real, who snatched a late 2-1 win over Villarreal, came second on 84. Valladolid finished 19th and were relegated to Spain’s second division along with 18th-place Huesca and Eibar, who finished bottom.
Simeone’s side went top in December after a sensational start to the campaign and stayed there despite numerous moments when it looked like their run to the title might fizzle out.
They were beaten at Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in April and conceded a last-minute penalty away to Elche but got away with a 1-0 victory when Fidel Chaves hit the post.
They left it late to beat Osasuna in last week’s penultimate match and lived dangerously against Valladolid, too.
“Our first half of the season wasn’t normal and neither was the slump we had,” added Suarez, who joined Atletico last year after being forced out by Barcelona.
The Uruguayan, 34, was close to tears after the game and thanked Simeone’s side for giving him a chance to keep proving himself at the top level.
“The situation I had to live through was very difficult, I was treated badly. But Atletico opened the door for me to prove I was still good enough,” he said.
Simeone added: “To stay top of the league for so long is an enormous achievement. I’m so grateful to the players, especially those who played less, as we had to stay united behind the same objective as a team, and we did that throughout.”