May 4, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT
Barcelona’s 2-2 Saturday draw with Getafe should’ve signaled a new champion. The Blaugranas couldn’t find another miracle, instead choking away a late 2-1 lead and gaining just a single point as they try to chase down Atletico Madrid for the La Liga title.
But Atletico made Barca’s choke look like a cough, losing 2-0 at mid-table Levante. It began with an own-goal before David Barral’s seventh of the season increased Diego Simeone’s plight. Atleti outshot Levante 23-7.
And to top it all off, Real Madrid couldn’t take all the points at home against Valenica. While it did give us this moment of brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time — Watch, you must — it also stopped Galacticos from owning its destiny.
Now on 88 points, Atletico’s lead over Barca has shrunk to three points, and Real is five points back of Atleti with a match in hand.
What’s it all mean? Well, Atleti holds the keys. They win out, they win La Liga. If Barca beats Atleti and Real drops any points, the title remains in Barcelona.
And there’s this:
In #LaLiga, that is the first time the top three have all dropped points in the same weekend this season. Real & Barca drew, Atletico lost.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) May 4, 2014
The run-in for the title:
Atletico Madrid (88 points)
May 11 vs. Malaga
May 18 at Barcelona
Barcelona (85 points)
May 11 at Elche
May 18 vs. Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid (83 points)
May 7 at Valladolid
May 11 at Celta Vigo
May 18 vs. Espanyol
- Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Athletic Bilbao— The match was more or less dusted by the 30th minute, when De Marcos’ sixth of the year made it 2-0. Athletic had much more to play for, and it showed; The lead over Sevilla for fourth, and the UEFA Champions League, is safe.
- Malaga 0-1 Elche — Massive road win from a desperate Elche team has Los Franjiverdes joining its opponents in relative safety. Dutchman Garry Rodrigues provides the winner.
- Osasuna 0-2 Celta Vigo — The hosts’ despair is high after the weekend has it poised for the drop on 35 points. Goals 15 & 16 for Nolito pace the winners.
- Valladolid 1-0 Espanyol — Unlikely hero Antonio Rukavina netted just his second of the season in boosting Valladolid’s survival hopes. Though still in 19th, they have one more game remaining than most of its fellow relegation-scrappers; Real Madrid, Betis and Granada remain on its slate to safety.
- Almeria 3-2 Real Betis — Already-relegated Betis gives the hosts a fight, posting a 2-1 lead in the second half, but Aleix Vidal tied it before Ramon Azeez found the winner in the 90th minute to send Almeria a point clear of relegation.
- Sevilla 0-0 Villarreal – A draw was almost as good as a win for the hosts, who just didn’t want Villarreal to snag all three.
- Real Sociedad vs. Granada – Monday
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- FIFA ethics committee bans 11 current, former officials from all football-related activities 5
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- FIFA president Sepp Blatter releases first statement since overnight arrests 11
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