Real Madrid out of La Liga title race, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to fight for title on final day
Real Madrid are officially out of the title race after losing 2-0 to Celta Vigo in the penultimate round of La Liga fixtures.
This is not the first time Real Madrid have squandered opportunities to bring themselves back in the title race. In the last three fixtures, they drew twice against Valencia and Valladolid and now lost to Celta Vigo.
Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso made two disastrous errors to allow Celta Vigo striker Charles to score a brace.
Real Madrid missed Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema in last night’s game as Carlo Ancelotti fielded a weakened team. Gareth Bale too was left on the bench as he tries to regain his fitness ahead of the Champions League final.
Elsewhere, league leaders Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 with Malaga. Atletico would have wrapped up the title if they had won the game at the Vicente Calderon stadium but Malaga’s Argentinian goalkeeper came to his side’s rescue when he made a fine save to deny Adrian and Atletico a winner in the dying seconds of stoppage time.
Atletico were without star striker Diego Costa and looked lost without him. Malaga took the lead in the 65th minute when Samuel headed home into an empty net after Thibaut Courtois made an error and raced off his line. But Toby Alderweireld leveled the score in the 74th minute to ensure that Atletico would get a point before they face Barcelona in the final wekeend.
Barcelona almost gifted Ateltico the title when they were held to a 0-0 draw against Elche but are still in the race thanks to Malaga. The Catalan side did not feature Xavi in the starting eleven and saw Cesc Fabregas take his place instead. Barcelona had many chances to score with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Alexis and Pedro having shots on goal which were either saved by goalkeeper Herrera coming to his side’s rescue time and again.
Although Elche are struggling in the bottom half of the table, they still had the second best record at home in terms of goals conceded. The draw meant that Elche are now on 40 points and will stay up no matter what happens on the final day of the season.
Barcelona now only need to win against Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou to win the title. As it stands, Ateltico Madrid are on 89 points while Barcelona are on 86. Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Tata Martino’s Barcelona were out of the title race but the two Madrid sides have handed them the advantage.
With the reverse fixture having ended in a draw, the head-to-head record will not come into the picture, but a win for Barcelona will see them level with Atletico but Barcelona have scored more goals.
Meanwhile, a draw will be enough for Diego Simeone’s men to lift the coveted trophy.