La Liga 2020-21 title race will go right down to the wire this season, or so it seems. Last weekend all the top four sides clashed with each other in the Spanish top-flight in what was thought to be the match day on which the title race would be settled, once and for all.
But this was not the case as Barcelona drew at home to league leaders Atletico Madrid and defending champions Real Madrid could only salvage a solitary point in their match with Sevilla in the Spanish capital.
All this means that the remaining three match days in Spain will bring with them a whole lot of last-gasp drama and entertainment as the top four sides battle it out until the very last minute to stake a claim on the Primera Division title.
FootTheBall takes a look at the results of the top four teams in La Liga last weekend and what it could mean for the title race in the Spanish first division as the season draws to a close in a little less than two weeks from now.
BARCELONA SQUANDER CHANCE TO GO TOP OF LA LIGA
Barcelona had the chance to go top of the league when Granada visited them last month. But the Catalans blew their chance spectacularly as they succumbed to a home defeat in the league for the first time in 2021 at the hands of the Nazaries even after leading the match until the 63rd minute. After which the Blaugrana catapulted and conceded two goals in sixteen second half minutes to hand the advantage to the Madrid-based clubs.
FT #BarçaGranada 1-2
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) April 29, 2021
Last weekend too, the Azulgrana had a chance at redemption as a win over league leaders Atletico Madrid would have seen them climb to the top of the standings, but once again Ronald Koeman’s side came up short as Los Colchoneros dominated huge portions of the match, with Barcelona delivering a stuttering performance that relied too much on the individual efforts of Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen on both ends of the pitch to spare Barcelona the blushes.
The Blaugrana’s best chance of the match came from a driving run from Messi in the first half as Oblak got a hand on the Argentine’s shot to prevent Barcelona from breaking the deadlock at Europe’s largest stadium in one of the most interesting and nail-biting title races that La Liga has witnessed in recent memory.
Leo & Luis 💙❤ Friends Forever pic.twitter.com/ihR7CmxJvj
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 8, 2021
In stark contrast, Atletico Madrid troubled Barcelona’s defence at regular intervals throughout the match and only a brilliant performance from ter Stegen between the posts kept the Blaugranas in the game.
SEVILLA HOLD REAL MADRID TO A DRAW IN SPAIN’S CAPITAL
Barcelona and Atletico played a goalless draw at the Camp Nou which meant that a win for Real Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stefano in their match with Sevilla would have see them claim pole position in La Liga and potentially end the title race, but the fates had other designs for the 2020-21 La Liga title, as Karim Benzema saw his early effort ruled out for offside before Sevilla’s Fernando opened the scoring in Madrid.
Later on, Zidane sent in Marco Asensio in place of 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in the 66th minute, and the Spaniard duly repaid his manager’s faith by restoring parity in the very next minute for Los Blancos. After his goal, it looked like Madrid would dominate the rest of the match and even eke out a win eventually, but VAR drama ensued to spoil Los Merengues’ chances of going top of the league.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) May 10, 2021
Eder Militao handled the ball from an incoming Sevilla corner, and as soon as the hosts cleared the ball from the penalty area, Benzema broke into a lung-bursting run to score for Real Madrid and calm all the nerves for the defending champions, but Sevilla custodian Bono obstructed the Frenchman’s path as he looked certain to put the ball behind the net, and the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts, only to later reverse his decision and give the penalty to the visitors for Militao’s handball.
The Real Madrid players couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed – from being in an advantageous position that would have seen them win the match, they had now conceded a penalty and were in the danger of not even earning a point. And it seemed like poetic justice that a former Barcelona player (Ivan Rakitic) stood up to take the penalty in front of a goalkeeper who had previously represented Atletico Madrid (Thibaut Courtois) in the Spanish first division. Rakitic exhibited commendable composure to send Courtois the wrong way as he put Sevilla in the lead yet again from 12 yards.
But the suspense and drama was hardly over in the match, as Real Madrid went all out in search of an equaliser to salvage their last chance at winning silverware this season. And they eventually found one – courtesy of a deflected Toni Kroos shot that went in after bouncing off Eden Hazard apparently in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time to set up an incredibly exciting finish for this La Liga season.
EXPECT LA LIGA 2020-21 TO GO RIGHT DOWN TO THE WIRE
As things stand in La Liga, Diego Simeone and his team are in prime position to secure their first La Liga title in seven years. They only need to perform better than Barcelona and Real Madrid in their remaining matches of La Liga 2020-21 to ultimately be victorious.
But what one has learned by now is that literally anything can happen in the Spanish top-flight this season with even fourth placed Sevilla having a chance to have a go at the title should Atletico lose two and draw one of the remainder of their fixtures in less than two weeks’ time.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) May 9, 2021
Hold onto your seats as La Liga witnesses a literal roller coaster ride at the very end of the 2020-21 season and if one thing is certain this time around, it is the fact that nothing is certain in the Spanish top-flight’s nail biting title race this season