The La Liga season is still in hiatus, awaiting news of a restart date as the world begins to get on top of the coronavirus battle. And when we do hopefully do get back in action, there’s an exciting run-in to look forward to.
The current campaign is in the balance, with La Liga 2020 predictions divided between Barcelona and Real Madrid. But back in 2016, Atletico Madrid were alongside these two, also in the hunt with just two games remaining.
It was a three-way battle and one of the best league finishes we’ve seen at SBOBET football, and one to relive. Barcelona had the jitters having let a comfortable lead slip, but their destiny was still in their own hands.
Levante 2-1 Atletico Madrid
8th May 2016
The 2016 title race is reaching a thrilling climax, but a shock defeat for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid wiped away their hopes of snatching the title.
Los Rojiblancos headed to Levante for the penultimate fixture of a tumultuous 2015/16 league season full of hope, but they left Valencia with nothing but broken dreams. Their hosts were already relegated and surely there for the taking, and it was all going to plan when Fernando Torres scored in the second minute.
But bottom-club Levante roared back with strikes from Victor Casadesus and Guiseppe Rossi, who ended Atleti’s title bid in the last minute. Now they trail Barca by three points, and with the Catalans having the better head-to-head record, the game was over for Simeone’s men.
The visitors started with star striker Antoine Griezmann and defensive leader Diego Godin on the bench, but when Torres latched onto Koke’s smart pass to finish the first attack of the game, it looked like this could be a walk in the park at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Atleti had kept clean sheets in their last four games. But Levante had other ideas, and when Rossi finished off a late breakaway the three-way race was reduced to two.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-2 at a packed Santiago Bernabeu and Barcelona hammered Espanyol 5-0 in the Catalan derby to hold on the pole position moving into the final weekend, one point clear of Los Blancos.
But Los Rojiblancos still had a Champions League final against Real Madrid to look forward to, having beaten Bundesliga giants FC Bayern in the semi-final.
Granada 0-3 Barcelona
14th May 2016
With Atleti out of the picture, all Barcelona had to do was to better Real Madrid’s result on the final game of the season. They did the job in spectacular fashion, thanks to a hat-trick from red-hot striker Luis Suarez.
The win meant Barca secured a sixth league title in eight years, keeping out fierce rivals Real, who did all they could with a 0-2 won over Deportivo La Coruna.
In fact, when Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring early in that game, nerves started to spread around the visiting Barca fans, who had seen their team’s nine-point lead disappear.
Few would dispute that Lionel Messi is the greatest player in Barcelona’s history and he was in lively form. The Argentine had a shot well saved as Barca piled on the early pressure.
The growing nerves started to settle when Suarez poked home a cross from Jordi Alba midway through the first half. And the Catalan hoards started to celebrate just before the break when he headed in at the near post after Dani Alves had centred brilliantly.
Granada were broken and the Blaugrana had the easiest of 45 minutes to claim the title. Suarez finished off his treble four minutes from time when the selfless Neymar presented him with an open goal for his 40th of the season, which won him the Golden Boot.
Midfield maestro Andres Iniesta summed up the emotions of the fans, saying: “We have suffered until the end but it’s glorious, to win six titles in eight years.”
Real Madrid’s win over Deportivo and a 2-0 home win for Atletico against Celta Vigo meant only three points separated the top three. The final La Liga table confirmed Barcelona’s one-point winning margin over Los Blancos, with Atleti just two points further back.
The Catalans would win a second-straight domestic double if they beat Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.
It was a fast and furious finish to an incredible season. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid won their final five games of the season, while Atleti’s defeat at Levante, which ended their own six-match winning streak, ended their bid for glory.
Well, that was the story of 2016, but rest assured that back in the now, we’ll be here with the latest La Liga 2020 updates the minute they arise.
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