February 29, 2024
Atletico Madrid closes in on La Liga title with dramatic comeback

Atletico Madrid closes in on La Liga title with dramatic comeback

Diego Simeone’s side was trailing 1-0 going into the game’s closing stages after Ante Budimir had given Osasuna the lead, but two goals in the final eight minutes turned the match on its head and ensured Atleti’s fate remains in its own hands going into the final game of the season.

Despite dominating for the entire game, Atlético fell behind in the 76th minute after goalkeeper Jan Oblak was unable to stop Budimir’s powerful header from crossing the line.

With the match and the title seemingly slipping from Atleti’s grasp, Renan Lodi finished brilliantly after 82 minutes to give his side a glimmer of hope, before Luis Suarez completed the comeback with a dramatic 88th minute winner.

It’s been a brilliant individual season for the 34-year-old Suarez, who was let go unceremoniously by Barcelona at the end of last season after six years at the club. Barcelona’s loss has certainly been Atlético’s gain, with the Uruguayan’s goal on Sunday his 20th league strike of the season.

Atlético Madrid celebrate after Luis Suarez scores its winning goal.

It came on the same day his former team was eliminated from the title race after a shock 2-1 home defeat to Celta Vigo left Barcelona seven points behind Atlético with just one game to go.

Real Madrid’s narrow 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao ensured the drama will go down to the final day of the season after Nacho’s strike kept Zinedine Zidane’s side just two points behind Atleti at the top of the table.

Juve on the brink

In Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus are still in danger of missing out on playing in next season’s Champions League.

Despite a dramatic 3-2 victory over newly-crowned Serie A champion Inter Milan, Juventus remains one point behind AC Milan in the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.

Andrea Pirlo’s side needs to win its final league game against Bologna and hope that either AC Milan or Napoli drop points on the final day.

Even if Juventus does miss out on a place in the Champions League, Ronaldo could still make an appearance in next season’s competition. Sporting, the Portuguese club where he began his career, won a first league title in 19 years to qualify for the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Inter Milan.

Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, is a huge Sporting fan and said during the title celebrations that she would try and convince her son to return to Sporting next season.

“I’ll talk to him [Ronaldo] to bring him back,” she said, according to Reuters. “Next year, he will play in the Alvalade [Sporting’s stadium].”

Ronaldo’s current contract runs until the end of next season, but there have been reports the 36-year-old is keen to return to Sporting. However, Juventus managing director Fabio Paratici insisted earlier this year that the club would be “holding on to him,” despite its struggles on the pitch.

Down to the wire

Lille’s goalless draw at home to Saint-Etienne allowed Paris Saint-Germain to close to within one point at the top of Ligue 1 with a comfortable 4-0 win against 10-man Reims.

The result means Lille now has to win on the final day of the season against mid-table Angers to guarantee a first league title since 2011.

Paris Saint-Germain beat Reims 4-0 to keep the Ligue 1 title race alive.

Third place Monaco still has an outside chance of winning the title, but would need both PSG and Lille to lose on the final day of the season and hope for a six-goal swing to at least match Lille’s goal difference.