Atletico Madrid Win The Spanish La Liga Title But Forced to Celebrate Without the Trophy
By Christine Jane Caparras | May 20, 2014 6:45 AM EST
The Spanish La Liga season was decided right on the final match day of the season with a nail biter of a match between the remaining two contenders for the crown. Defending champions FC Barcelona hosted Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Saturday trailing three points behind.
Atletico Madrid's goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (L), Arda Turan and Koke celebrate at the end of their Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London April 30, 2014. Atletico Madrid won the match 3-1 and qualified for the final round.
Barcelona took the early lead with a powerful strike from Alexis Sanchez on the 33rd minute. The reigning champions seemed to have a good chance in retaining their title after taking the lead and having two of Atletico's top players stretchered off early in the first half.
In-form striker Diego Costa, who has been instrumental in the club's success this season, was taken off only 16 minutes into the game. Five minutes later, Arda Turan joined Costa in the sidelines to watch in tears as Alexis Sanchez put Barcelona ahead. The other Atletico players quickly picked up the slack and went on with a relentless onslaught against Barcelona.
The second half saw possession dominated by Atletico and Barcelona were left scrambling about just to hold the ball. Four minutes into the second half, Atletico scores the equalizer with a header from Diego Godin. Barcelona tried to go on the offensive but fell short and the 1-1 draw was enough for Atletico Madrid to secure the title for the first time in 18 years. This is also the first time the title was won by another team aside from either Barcelona or Real Madrid since 2006.
It was a bit of a cruel celebration For Atletico however as they were forced to celebrate the victory without the trophy. The head of the Spanish Football Association, Angel Maria Villar was travelling and was unavailable to attend the match to present the trophy.
The fans did not let that small setback stop them and still went on to fill the streets and Madrid and surrounded the Neptuno fountain where celebrations are traditionally held for Atletico Madrid. The team is now looking ahead to the Champions League final where they will be playing against city rivals Real Madrid in Lisbon on May 24.
A week after winning the Spanish La Liga title, Atletico will be aiming to lift the Champions League Trophy and will be hoping that their injured players will be fit for the clash. Meanwhile, Real Madrid also have injury woes of their own as Cristiano Ronaldo is being rested after limping off a league match against Valladolid only less than two weeks ago.
The streets of Madrid will be full next Saturday and the only question is whether celebrants will be in white or white and red stripes and which fountain will be hosting the celebrations, the Neptuno or the Cibeles?
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