Atletico Madrid win La Liga title after draw at Barca

Sat May 17, 2014 6:40pm EDT
 
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By Tim and Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid ended the decade-long dominance of Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid by clinching a first La Liga title for 18 years in a thrilling climax to the campaign on Saturday.

A towering Diego Godin header secured Atletico a 1-1 draw against Barcelona that kept them three points clear of the Catalans in second, sparking wild celebrations among the visiting players and fans.

Barca needed to beat Atletico in the final-day showdown to snatch the title away and Alexis Sanchez gave the hosts hope when he rifled home from an acute angle after 33 minutes at a packed Nou Camp.

But four minutes after the break Godin powered home from a corner and Atletico defended robustly to earn the draw they needed and claim their first championship since 1995-96.

The result prompted Barcelona's Argentine coach Gerardo Martino to announce his resignation after just one season in the job.

"The work and effort of this team is the key and nobody makes any compromises. The team understands this," Atletico coach Diego Simeone told a news conference.

"Today will be one of the most important days in the history of the club. To become champions against Barcelona is a great feeling."

Following the final whistle, the Nou Camp crowd applauded the new champions as they celebrated on the pitch.   Continued...

 
Atletico Madrid's Diego Godin (L) celebrates after scoring against Barcelona during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona May 17, 2014. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo