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Crazy weekend leaves us dizzy

AS AS 05/05/2014 Alfredo Relaño

To recap: Atlético depend entirely on themselves and need just four points from their last two games. To be crowned league champions. In order for Real Madrid to beat them to top spot, they require Atlético to lose one while they have to win all of the games that remain. Barcelona meanwhile are dependent on Madrid losing a game (it doesn’t matter if they lose or draw) and they too must take maximum points from their remaining matches. That’s the state of play in the league after a crazed weekend of action in which all three title chasers unexpectedly slipped up. You could understand Atlético for coming unstuck away from home against an uncompromising side but Barça and Madrid, who were both at home – the Catalans against a struggling Getafe side and Madrid against a Valencia who we wrongly imagined would be dispirited.

In short, it really has been a wonderful league campaign. Barça’s players’ post-match comments suggested that for them, the season was all but lost. But there would be more unforeseen twists in the tale during the ensuing hours. Right up until Cristiano’s last-ditch leveller, Barça suddenly depended on themselves. If Madrid had not equalised, all Barça would have needed to do was win their last two games and the title would be theirs. As for Atlético, it looked like they’d lost their margin for error after crashing to defeat at the Ciutat de València but as it turned out, four points will be enough for them. On the final day, they are guests of a Barça side who will be aware that a home win will hand the trophy to Real Madrid.

A chain of events which has opened up a myriad of possibilities on the final day – from Saturday’s lethargic meeting at Camp Nou to the thrills and spills of Valencia’s trip to the Bernabéu and sandwiched between the two, Atleti’s tense encounter with Levante which was tipped in the hosts’ favour by an own goal which unnerved the leaders for the rest of the first half. Simeone’s team would later rally and enjoyed a period where they were controlling the game but lacked luck with their finishing. While they sought to level the score, they were caught on the break. Madrid attacked bravely (coming up against an inspirational Diego Alves) and defended badly which is the main reason why they drew a match in which the only players who shone were Parejo and both keepers. There are a combined total of seven games left to play and emotions will be running high. It’s exactly what we needed – a league campaign with a dramatic climax like this one will surely deliver.

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