La Liga wrap: Barca and Madrid fail to punish Atletico
La Liga wrap: Atletico Madrid are unpunished after Barcelona and Real Madrid fail to capitalise on leaders's slip-up
Atletico dealt slice of luck as top three slip up
Going into the match away to Levante, Atletico Madrid knew they only needed to win their next two games to seal the La Liga title. Mid-table Levante theoretically had nothing to play for, but managed to cause a shock by beating the leaders 2-0, almost ruining Atletico’s title hopes. A Felipe Luis own goal and David Barral’s strike shocked the Champions League finalists, giving Real Madrid the chance to force their way back into the title race later on. The weekend results now mean that Atletico will need to get at least a point against Barcelona on the final day if Real win their remaining games.
Real claim vital late point but drop two
After Atletico’s loss, Real had the chance to pull three points back ahead of their midweek game in hand against Valladolid. Valencia were the visitors to the Bernabeu but caused a shock by twice going ahead, letting Atletico off the hook. Cristiano Ronaldo levelled in stoppage time however with an extravagant back-heel to make it 2-2 and give Real what could be a crucial point. Sergio Ramos continued his fine scoring streak by cancelling out Jeremy Mathieu’s opener, but Dani Parejo restored their lead almost immediately. Valencia, who were dealt heartbreak in their European ventures on Thursday as Sevilla scored a late away goal, were let down late on yet again through Ronaldo’s excellent touch. The point was a disappointing one for Real Madrid, especially after the boost in Levante, but were halted by another Valencian outfit.
Barca can’t shake their stutter
Another tough week for Barcelona was worsened by a last-minute equaliser which all but ends their chances of a shot at the title this year. The funeral of ex-manager Tito Vilanova took place on Monday as the Nou Camp marked his passing with a massive tribute ahead of the game against Getafe. After last week’s hard work against Villarreal, this game was supposed to be a lot easier for Barca, and it looked as though they’d get back to normal when Lionel Messi opened the scoring. Angel Lafita equalised later on in the first half after a neat set-piece routine but Alexis Sanchez continued his good season by slotting his 18th goal after latching onto a rebound. Lafita wasn’t done though as he headed past Pinto with just seconds remaining to deepen the gloom at the Nou Camp.
Recent form surely makes Enrique favourite for Barca job
Three straight wins have lifted Celta Vigo up to eighth in La Liga, having enjoyed an impressive season under former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Luis Enrique. Celta survived on the final day of the season last year but have surprised many this season and look set for a top half finish. Much of that has been down to Enrique, who has been touted as a future manager of Barcelona. He was among the favourites when Vilanova stood down last season, and if Tata Martino is to depart then Enrique may be selected as his successor. Celta host Real Madrid this weekend and if they can get a result against the title chasers Enrique will grow even more popular in Catalonia and give him a better chance if there becomes a vacancy in the Barcelona technical area.