Atletico Madrid clinched their first Spanish league title since 2014 on Saturday afternoon, coming from behind to beat Real Valladolid 2-1 in a dramatic encounter.
Atleti’s afternoon got off to a nightmare start, when they were caught cold from their own corner, and allowed Valladolid to break into their half unchallenged. Oscar Plano raced into the box and beat Jan Oblak to land a huge blow to their title hopes.
Despite their need for goals, los Colchoneros failed to make any real inroads in the first half, although Luis Suarez did flash a shot wide of the far post, having worked some space in the penalty area.
Diego Simeone lit a fire under his players in the second half, and Angel Correa responded for the champions, jinking and slaloming through a string of tackles, before poking the ball home from the edge of the area to pull Atleti level.
And 10 minutes later, it was wrapped up – and there was only one man to thank. Suarez latched onto a horribly misplaced back-pass, charged into the box and slotted home with ice in his veins. Atleti survived some nervy moments at the end to hold on and snatch the title from neighbours Real Madrid, sparking wild celebrations on the touchline.
Let’s check out the title-winning player ratings.
Jan Oblak (GK) – 7/10 – Slightly out of position for the opener, taking a step forward and then retreating only to lose his bearings. Beaten at the front post. A goalkeeper as good as him will be disappointed by that. Big save made up for it later on, though.
Jose Gimenez (CB) – 7/10 – Did brilliantly to rescue Atleti from a stray ball in the middle of their half, and then headed over from a corner soon after. An aggressive defender and one who did his bit.
Felipe (CB) – 8/10 – Recovered from the early setback to snap into some strong tackles and prevent Valladolid from pulling off any more counter-attacks. Crucial at the back.
Mario Hermoso (CB) – 6/10 – Defended well enough, but played his part in the shock opener. Didn’t let it affect his overall game, though. Subbed as Simeone changed shape in the second half.
Kieran Trippier (RWB) – 7/10 – Pushed so high up the right wing, and even more so once Atleti fell behind. Delivery was not on point in the first half, failing to find his man or even ballooning crosses out of play from wide areas. Strong second half for the Englishman.
Marcos Llorente (CM) – 8/10 – Added some calm to a high pressure and chaotic situation. Worked nicely in tight spaces and drew players in before popping possession off to a teammate. Almost assisted the equaliser for Suarez. A great end to a fabulous season.
Koke (CM) – 7/10 – Produced some dangerous crosses from set-pieces, but his teammates couldn’t turn them towards goal. Battled hard in the midfield in such a high pressure occasion.
Saul Niguez (CM) – 6/10 – Struggled in the first half, and was replaced by Joao Felix in the second as Simeone went for the jugular.
Yannick Carrasco (LWB) – 7/10 – Powerful runner down that left flank, and able to use either foot to cross. Can defend, attack or just run for hours on end. What a useful player.
Luis Suarez (ST) – 8/10 – Looked to have equalised, but his cut inside and curling strike flashed agonisingly wide of the far post. Headed towards goal but his effort was blocked on the line. Had his moment (of course he did). Raced into the area, steadied himself, and dealt the killer blow. That’s why they signed him – and he has delivered.
Angel Correa (ST) – 8/10 – What a goal!! When you need a moment of magic, this guy steps up. Wriggled and danced through the challenges, before surprising the opposition keeper with a great little poke into the corner. Genius, and decisive. Changed the game, and won the title.
Renan Lodi (LB) – 7/10
Joao Felix (CM) – 8/10
Geoffrey Kondogbia (CM) – 7/10
Hector Herrera (CM) – 6/10