08 Apr Costa loses his head as Suarez and Messi to maintain theirs to seal Liga title for Barca
The striker talked his means right into a mindless straight purple card for dissent as Diego Simeone’s facet finally succumbed to a deadly 2-Zero loss at Camp Nou
It was on a tv present known as ‘The Choice’ that Antoine Griezmann surprisingly introduced final yr that he could be staying at Atletico Madrid – regardless of a suggestion to hitch Barcelona.
The Frenchman’s alternative continues to be being mentioned. It was one of many principal speaking factors main into Saturday’s pivotal conflict between the 2 sides at Camp Nou.
Mundo Deportivo even labelled the encounter between the highest two sides within the Primera Division as ‘La Liga: The Choice’.
Barcelona held an eight-point benefit, which means Atletico needed to win to have any hope of overhauling their hosts earlier than the top of the season.
Nonetheless, whereas Griezmann was totally match to begin in opposition to the facet he had so publicly snubbed, fellow forwards Diego Costa (hamstring) and Alvaro Morata (ankle) had solely simply returned to full coaching after harm points.
That left Diego Simeone together with his personal troublesome determination to make: depart each on the bench or choose one to begin within the hope of placing Barca’s defence beneath strain.
The Argentine finally opted to be daring, electing to begin Costa. It proved the improper determination. This proved an evening for cool heads. Costa misplaced his. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez saved theirs, and that proved the distinction between the 2 sides.
For roughly 28 minutes, although, we had a sport; greater than that, we nonetheless had a title race. However then Costa did what Costa does, descending right into a rage for no purpose in any way to earn himself essentially the most mindless of purple playing cards for dissent.
Did Gil Manzano over-react to being verbally abused? Maybe. However we do not know precisely what was mentioned. What we do know is that Costa deserved to be punished for a ridiculous act of stupidity.
It was even troublesome to know precisely what had so angered him. Arthur had gone to floor to win a ball in the course of the park, and appeared to take action cleanly. Costa, although, was enraged and launched a verbal volley at Manzano.
The notoriously trigger-happy official instantly reached for his yellow however Costa continued his tirade, so Manzano brandished a purple as a substitute.
Atletico had been incensed. Each centre-halves, Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, had been booked for protesting. They felt that the ref had wronged them. In fact, although, it was Costa who had allow them to down.
Unsurprisingly, the sport modified fully together with his exit. Even Barca appeared unsettled by the controversy, at the least till half-time.
Earlier than Costa’s dismissal, the hosts had struck the submit by Jordi Alba – after completely controlling an beautiful ball from Messi – and seen Philippe Coutinho draw a wonderful one-handed cease out of the sensible Jan Oblak.
After the purple, although, they did subsequent to nothing for the rest of the half. After the break, although, they progressively cranked up the strain.
Predictably, Atleti responded admirably, spurred on by Simeone, who ended up changing each full-backs, Santiago Arias and Filipe Luis, with two forwards, Angel Correa and Morata.
Nonetheless, with simply 5 minutes remaining, Suarez calmly picked up a go from Jordi Alba and virtually effortlessly bent the ball previous a full-stretch Oblak with the help of the correct submit.
With Atleti nonetheless reeling, Messi tore into the world simply 90 seconds later, and regardless of being quickly unbalanced by Gimenez, composed himself after which waited till the final doable second earlier than virtually nonchalantly sliding a shot into the identical nook.
The wild celebrations that greeted each targets mentioned all of it: sport over however, extra importantly, title race over.
Barca now boast an 11-point lead with simply seven rounds remaining. La Liga is successfully theirs. Once more. It will likely be their eighth prior to now 11 seasons.
What’s extra, the treble is nicely and actually on for the Copa del Rey finalists, who face Manchester United within the Champions League quarter-finals subsequent week.
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Sadly, Atleti’s season is now over, having already been eradicated from Europe after that dreadfully uncharacteristic collapse in Turin in opposition to Juventus.
They’d missed the injured Costa on that event, slumping to a unusually passive defeat with out their pugnacious No.19.
In that context, it is easy to grasp why Simeone gambled on Costa’s aggression to win them the sport. Sadly, it was the rationale they misplaced it.