Champion comeback

With suspense and suffering as it could not be otherwise due to the goal conceded after the first quarter of an hour, Atlético were proclaimed league champions for the eleventh time. Simeone’s team had to straighten up after a first half in which he was dizzy. With the goal against, his reaction in the intermission was champion. A delight for Correa and Suárez’s instinct to scavenge everything that smells like a goal ended up elevating a team that has collected two league titles in seven years. In a different way, but with the stamp of the character that Simeone has engraved on him. The win was a metaphor for his season. When he attacked well and played in the opposite field, he won. When he hesitated, he got stuck.

The pressure took its toll on Atlético’s start. Without the right pulse, from the beginning he fed the hopes of Valladolid that the miracle would work. Sergio’s team, which needed to win and a double carom in Huesca and Elche, came out liberated, feeling more Second Division meat than First Division. No pressure, looser, at 17 minutes he hunted Atlético in a counter. A corner kick by the rojiblancos led to a vertiginous four-touch attack that left Óscar Plano out in the open to meet Oblak. A shot adjusted to the left stick of the Slovenian began to write the drama of Atlético. In the band, Simeone could not believe.

The leader was no longer just a flan. Now he had to put up with the need to go back. Suffering and agony once again accompanied Atlético’s history. Not even that Villarreal went ahead in Valdebebas did it improve Simeone’s footballers. His midfielders were facing one of those days when they gave more passes than their teammate. Koke, Llorente and Saúl were overwhelmed by responsibility. Neither did Carrasco, Correa or Trippier show fresh legs and waists to besiege the Masip area. Only one stumbled play, cleaned up by Saúl with a pass to Suárez, brought Atlético closer to the goal. The Uruguayan cut and screwed a shot that was on the way to the squad until Kiko Olivas put his head in to deflect the ball to a corner. That was the only clear occasion that the rojiblanco team could make in the entire first half. If against Osasuna he was able to tame the head, in the first act of the final match he was a bundle of nerves and inaccuracies.

Neither the screams that came from the mouths of Oblak and Giménez, nor the encouragement that Koke was trying to instill by appealing to team spirit had any effect. He did not give any feeling of being able to hurt a team that showed up for the appointment evicted. On the way to the dressing room, the gaits of Simeone and his players were slow, chewing a dramatic defeat, despite the momentary defeat of Madrid. Under the threat of catastrophe, Atlético’s departure, with the countdown already underway, was more typical of a team that was playing the League. A boarding school by Llorente was caught by Suárez head on and Janko avoided the goal a meter from the goal line. Another frank header from Giménez went high.

Correa again showed the footballer that he is. In half a meter in the half moon, three players were cleaned and solved with a futsal toe that surprised Masip. Atlético had a long time to score the goal that would end up reassuring him. Before it arrived, Oblak had to take a hard shot from Olaza. The rejection fell to Weissman, who with the defeated Slovenian finished with his head over the crossbar. The luck of the champion seemed to tip for Atlético. It was confirmed by the delivery that Sergi Guardiola made to Luis Suárez with a back pass. The Uruguayan headed for Masip with the opportunity to sentence the League. It did not fail. He raised his head and adjusted a punchline for the story. His 21 goals have been capital for the title. It was only a matter of time passing for the Atlético and Simeone players to sing the alirón.

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