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Atletico Madrid has first La Liga title since ’96 after holding Barca

May 17, 2014, 12:51 PM EDT

Diego Godin AP

An Alexis Sanchez shot from an improbable angle gave Barcelona a 1-0 34th minute lead over visiting Atletico Madrid, putting Blaugranas 45 minutes of soccer away from its fifth La Liga title in six years.

But their opponents did not back down, as Diego Godin headed home a deadball just after halftime to tie the score and put Atletico Madrid back in the driver’s seat to its first La Liga title since 1996. They did not relinquish the lead.

Sanchez picked up the ball from well inside the 18 and just yards from from the touchline, and to the left of Atleti goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. He wasted no time lashing a hard shot into the upper corner above the keeper’s left arm to put Barca up 1-0.

Atleti had already used two subs, with danger men Diego Costa and Arda Turan leaving after injuries in the first 22 minutes.

Barca weathered a late first half Atleti storm to get itself to the dressing room with a 1-0 lead, but Godin’s 49th-minute header set the stage for a wild second half.

Lionel Messi seemed to have found the go-ahead goal in the 64th minute, but was ruled offsides after the ball popped to him off a scrum in the 18.

Filipe Luis picked up a yellow card for a sliding tackle on Messi just outside the 18, and a free kick came as the clock neared 70. After a solid minute of jostling and arguing over how far away the wall should be, Messi sent the ball directly into it.

Barca’s passing just wasn’t there the rest of the way. They were a fraction off almost all day, and Atletico parked the bus after the interval as if they were masters. The Camp Nou is no longer a house of reigning champions, as Barca is trophy-less.

  1. footballer4ever - May 17, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Awesome football final. Well deserved for Atletico Madrid to have won the league. Throughout the game, they kept playing attacking football and their defense was spot on in breaking any rythm Barca started. One giant was brought down, now go ahead and bring down the other giant, Real Madrid, at the Champions League Final on may 24th!

  2. footballer4ever - May 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    ” and Atletico parked the bus after the interval as if they were masters”

    Unless you are referring to Chelsea Football or any Mourihno team final, I disagree with that statement. Atletico Madrid played great defense, but continued playing forward to score and win the game.

    • Nicholas Mendola - May 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      I can’t say it’s fair. They lined up 8 fellas across the penalty spot for most of the second half. Counterattacks don’t count as attacking football.

  3. footballer4ever - May 17, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Considering Atletico lost two main footballers, including Costa, in the first 20 minutes, their “counter-attack” football was sure more entertaining than any “parking the bus” Mourihno team will show. Barca did not have any attacking football and their passes were continuously interrupted by a brave and gutted defense.

  4. footballer4ever - May 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Barcelona’s lack of “attacking” football or their infamous and dizzying passes were the cause of a tight and hard nosed defence. Considering Atletico Madrid lost two main players, including Diego Costa, their attacking footballers lost a lot of horsepower. let’s not forget that in a league of two powerhouse football teams, Atletico Madrid managed to win the league by playing at their rival’s home. Besides that ridiculous goal from Alexis, Barca could not muster great offense throughout the football match.

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