June 12, 2021

Lionel Messi edges back ahead of Ronaldo, but former Barcelona man keeps Atletico in driver’s seat for La Liga

Lionel Messi edges back ahead of Ronaldo, but former Barcelona man keeps Atletico in driver’s seat for La Liga

A chaotic evening in La Liga on Sunday saw Atletico Madrid leave it late, to maintain control of the race for the title.

Real march on/Barca falter

The penultimate round of fixtures in this season’s Spanish top-flight played out a short time ago.

All of the ‘big three’ took to the pitch, aware that the title could yet land at any of the Camp Nou, Bernabeu or Wanda Metropolitano, come the campaign’s end.

It was of course Atleti who entered the action in the driver’s seat, sitting two points clear of city rivals Real, and a further two clear of Barcelona at the division’s summit.

Lionel Messi edges back ahead of Ronaldo, but former Barcelona man keeps Atletico in driver’s seat for La Liga

Atletico Madrid’s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone looks on before the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) football match between Cultural and Deportiva Leonesa and Club Atletico de Madrid at the Reino de Leon stadium in Leon, on January 23, 2020. (Photo by CESAR MANSO / AFP) (Photo by CESAR MANSO/AFP via Getty Images)

And, when all was said and done across Spain on Sunday, Diego Simeone’s men maintained their advantage… just.

Barca were first to see their title challenge officially brought to an end, after slipping to a 2-1 defeat at home to Celta Vigo.

After Lionel Messi put the Blaugrana in front early at the Camp Nou, Koeman’s men, for the 2nd game in succession, collapsed, succumbing to a Santi Mina double, either side of Clement Lenglet’s late dismissal.

Whilst the La Liga title will now officially remain away from Catalunya for another season, though, talisman Messi can at least take solace in the fact that his goal this evening – the Argentine’s 30th of the Spanish top-flight campaign – guided him one strike clear of Cristiano Ronaldo (29) in the European goalscoring charts.

Whilst Barcelona stuttered, Clasico rivals Real, on the other hand, stood tall, to secure a potentially vital three points in the Basque country.

A solitary goal proved all that was required to guide Los Blancos beyond Athletic Bilbao, with Nacho Fernandez having proven the surprise hero for Zinedine Zidane’s side, a little over twenty minutes from time:

Suarez strikes late

Incredibly, meanwhile, within five minutes of Real taking the lead at the San Mames, the champions’ hopes of retaining their crown were then handed a monumental boost.

This came in the form of an Osasuna opener at the Metropolitano, as Ante Budimir threw another spanner in the title race 15 minutes from time:

Atletico, though, can simply never be counted out.

First, as the clash in the capital rolled into the final ten minutes, Renan Lodi drew Los Rojiblancos level, courtesy of a fine left-footed strike.

Then, with 88 minutes on the clock, Luis Suarez swung the race for Spanish supremacy back in the favour of Diego Simeone’s men.

After picking up a trademark position in the Osasuna area, the former Barcelona man slotted home with confidence from Yannick Carrasco’s clever pull back, sparking wild celebrations, and ensuring that the battle for the La Liga title will come down to the final day:

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.