Game over in La Liga

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And so it ends? If, that is, it hadn’t already – and if it ever really started. “I feel like I lost it,” Diego Simeone said. It was Sunday evening on the east coast and he meant the game, but in all probability it was the title too. Defeated 2-1 by Villarreal, at the final whistle Atlético Madrid’s manager gazed at nothing in particular, an empty look on his face as all around him people celebrated. An old man enthusiastically shook the hand of the man next to him, a solitary square of yellow confetti settled on his tweed hat, while Simeone’s team trudged past towards the tunnel. Vitolo had led the way seconds before, sent off for the first time, and now they followed, knowing that, barring a miracle, the league had just come to a close at the Ceramic Stadium, two months early.

“Is it over?” Simeone was asked afterwards, to which he said something about winning lots of games and seeing where they are with five weeks to go. But with nine weeks left, Atlético are probably too far off and he could have been forgiven for offering a shorter, simpler answer: “Probably.” On Sunday afternoon, Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 and that, plus Atlético’s defeat, leaves Simeone’s side 11 points and head-to-head goal difference behind the leaders. “It’s finished!” ran the shout on the radio and most agreed: any small, lingering hope Atlético had of becoming champions again, already radically reduced since that loss at the Camp Nou a fortnight ago, slipped through their fingers.
“There’s no explanation,” Saúl said. “It was strange; this doesn’t happen often.” He was right, it doesn’t. Ever. Not even against Villarreal, the team Atlético hadn’t beaten in Eric Fehr Womens Jersey four. At half-time, Atlético were 1-0 up, Villarreal’s president Fernando Roig going down to tell the referee he’d got it wrong when he gave diving Antoine Griezmann an early penalty. Thirty-five times Simeone’s side have led 1-0 at half time, and they’d never lost. With 10 minutes to go, they were still a goal up. Atlético were relentlessly atléticoing again, in control and on course for a ninth 1-0 of the season, a 19th clean sheet. To make sure, Greizmann came off and Gabi went on. A minute later, Enes Unal made it 1-1. Eight minutes after that, with virtually the last kick of the game, Unal scored again, his sixth of the season – five for Villarreal, one for Levante.
No wonder Simeone was blaming himself. “I lost it: the players made a huge effort and I didn’t help them,” he said. “It’s not his fault,” insisted Saúl, but there was something in Simeone’s confession. “Unal punishes el Cholo,” ran the headline in AS. In the match report below, Patricia Cazón was reeling off Clint Eastwood’s films, linking them to key moments of a game which she said had had started on the porch, rifle in hand like Gran Torino; in which Griezmann’s penalty had been shot like Dirty Harry; the match became a fight and the pitch a ring, Million Dollar Baby-style; and Authentic Shaun Alexander Jersey in which there was, of course, the good, the bad and ultimately the ugly too. One film she didn’t mention was Never say Goodbye, and Simeone wasn’t saying that but they surely know they may soon have to and everyone else Cameron Brate Jersey was doing it for them. Three pages on, Picu Díaz insisted: “Defeat meant bidding adiós to the league.”
“Atlético say goodbye. If it looked impossible before, that’s a reality now,” agreed El País. “The final lights out – the remote chance they had disintegrated at the Cerámica,” said El Mundo. When Leo Messi had scored against Athletic a few hours earlier, he had done a dance. Well, a momentary wriggle, anyway – and that was enough. “The rhythm of a champion,” cheered El Mundo Deportivo. “This league is a dance,” said the cover of Sport. “It’s official: no one can keep up with Barcelona’s pace: the league is on a plate,” read the editorial. They said Barcelona can “smell” the league, which poses the question “what does the league smell of?” and sets you up to insert your own “fishy” here. The front cover of AS, meanwhile, went for: “the league, done.” wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys from china cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys from china


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