Saturday, March 24, 2018

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: Catalans aim to reclaim title at Calderon

SoccerNews in La Liga 15 May 2015


Barcelona can reclaim La Liga at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday, exactly a year to the day that Atletico Madrid won the title at Camp Nou.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico were confirmed as champions for the first time in 18 years on La Liga’s final day on May 17 last year following a 1-1 draw at Barcelona, as Diego Godin’s header cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s opener.

Having seen prized assets such as Diego Costa and Filipe Luis depart to win the Premier League with Chelsea, Atletico have rarely looked like defending the title.

The hosts sit 13 points adrift of leaders Barca going into the penultimate game of the campaign, with their only remaining goal to secure third place and a UEFA Champions League group-stage spot ahead of Valencia.

Victory on Sunday would ensure that objective is completed, but all the focus will be on Luis Enrique’s Barca as they attempt to seal the first trophy of a potential treble.

Barca, who have the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals to come, are four points ahead of Real Madrid and will win the league for the 23rd time with a win in the Spanish capital or by at least matching Real’s result at Espanyol.

“To have the chance to win the treble at this point in the season doesn’t happen often,” said Barca defender Gerard Pique.

“We are fighting for the treble, but taking into account what is being said, I get the feeling that we have already won the treble.

“There is not much to go, but it is the most difficult part, we have to be united.

“What I want is to win the league as quickly as possible. Let’s hope that it is at the Calderon. If we get to that point, it means that we have done everything very well indeed. I think people are behind us and are hungry for trophies.”

The visitors may have to clinch the title without striker Luis Suarez, who is nursing a hamstring injury. Midfielder Tiago is Atletico’s only absentee due to suspension.

Atletico striker Fernando Torres, meanwhile, is not focused on the prospect of Barca winning the title at the Calderon.

Torres said: “We hope to win the match and secure that third place. But football is like that.

“Atletico became champion last year at the Camp Nou, and as football and fate would have it, Barcelona have the possibility of becoming champion on our field.

“But that does not tell us anything because we are fighting a different war, to win to be third and achieve the objective we need.”


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