Atletico Madrid have won their 10th La Liga title, after holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in the final match at the Nou Camp.
Diego Simeone’s side needed just a point to wrap up a first domestic trophy since 1996, and he got his tactics spot on with his team restricting Barca’s flow as Lionel Messi had just a single shot on a target.
Diego Godin’s 49th-minute equaliser proved to be enough as he cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s first-half strike.
Atleti lost star striker Diego Costa and winger Arda Turan to injury in the first-half, but held on brilliantly at the end against relentless pressure from the hosts who had them pegged in their own half.
Vice-captain Xavi started on the bench for Gerard Martino’s men who needed to win for second consecutive title. Chances were few and far between in the opening stages of the match.
The visitors took just 450 fans to the Nou Camp and would have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t going to be their day when they lost two of their star men to injury.
Matters then got worse on 34 minutes as the hosts’ greater threat eventually paid off. Messi cushioned the ball into the path of Sanchez who smashed the ball home via the upright from a tight angle.
This seemed to spark Atletico back into life and they started to control the game and early in the second half their pressure told.
Koke swung in a corner from the right-hand side. and Godin rose highest in the penalty area to power a header into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Pinto.
Needing a goal and unwilling to let their league crown slip, Barca threw on Xavi and Neymar in the hope of finding the much-needed breakthrough.
They were camped out in their opponents’ half and had the ball in the net on 63 minutes.
A deep cross to the far post was nodded back across the area and Messi thumped the ball into the roof of the net, only to be denied by the offside flag.
The Catalan giants continued to press and throw everything at their potential successors, whose stubborn resistance just could not be broken and they held on.
Although obviously disappointed, the home fans still showed great sportsmanship as they rose to applaud the new and worthy champions.
Simeone’s men now have the chance to complete the League and European double in Lisbon next Saturday, when they face rivals Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final.
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