Atletico Madrid may have just surrendered the 2020-21 La Liga title race and gifted the title to Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona as Los Rojiblancos lost 2-1 to 10-man Athletic Bilbao.
Diego Simeone’s side has really struggled in the recent past that has seen them get knocked out of the UEFA Champions League and potentially throw a 7-point lead at the top of the Spanish league.
The loss keeps them just 2 points ahead of city rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona but the Catalans have a game in hand that would see them take up the first spot with a win and go 1 point ahead of both Madrid giants.
Inigo Martinez’s late header may have cost Atletico Madrid the title as he led his Athletic Bilbao side to victory over the league leaders.
Alex Berenguer Remiro opened the scoring for Bilbao in the 8th minute itself as the home side looked to upset the league leaders in what was a must-win for the away side.
Atleti struggled to cause Bilbao any problems up until the 77th minute when Stefan Savic equalised for the Madrid side.
Atletico remains two points above both Real Madrid and Barcelona, with Sevilla a point further back in fourth. But Barca, winners earlier on Sunday at Villarreal, have a game in hand and will go top as long as they manage to beat Granada on Thursday.
Atletico paid the price for a poor first half against a Bilbao side that had lost two Copa del Rey finals – the delayed 2020 showpiece to Real Sociedad and the 2021 edition to Barca – this month itself.
Diego Simeone’s side only has themselves to blame as they looked like running away with the league title earlier in the year but failing to string victories together recently has cost them dearly. The injury to star striker Luis Suarez could be a major reason for the failure to win due to lack of goals.
This is how things stand currently in Spain’s top flight in the race for La Liga supremacy. All 4 teams have secured UEFA Champions League spots already.
- Atletico Madrid – 33 games – 73 points
- Real Madrid – 33 games – 71 points
- Barcelona – 32 games – 71 points
- Sevilla – 33 games – 70 points