Five key moments in Atletico's run to La Liga title

Here are five key moments in Atletico Madrid's run to the La Liga title.

Atletico Madrid players celebrate after clinching the La Liga in Valladolid, Spain, on Saturday. - AP

Reuters Sport looks at five key moments which helped Atletico Madrid win the La Liga.

LUIS SUAREZ SIGNS ON

Atletico Madrid has remained a top side since last winning the league in 2014 but had been lacking a proven goalscorer for some time. Step forward Luis Suarez, who had been forced out of Barcelona and was able to join Atletico for only EUR six million.

Suarez helped Atletico get off to a blinding start by scoring his first 12 goals with 18 shots and then hit winners over Osasuna and Real Valladolid to clinch the title.

GETTING ONE OVER BARCELONA

Suarez was unable to face Barca in November but Atletico still managed to beat the Catalans thanks to a counterattack goal from Yannick Carrasco.

It was the first time in more than 10 years that Atletico had beaten Barcelona in La Liga and the win gave it a tangible sense it had what it took to challenge the Catalans and champion Real Madrid.

BARCELONA BLOWS ITS BIG CHANCE

Atletico's charge to the title almost skidded to a halt in April following a defeat at Sevilla, a draw at Real Betis, and another loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona, meanwhile, was gathering momentum after cutting a 13-point deficit down to two and had the chance to go top if it could just beat Granada.

 

Barca had won its previous 24 home games against Granada and looked set to storm to the top of the standings when Lionel Messi gave it the lead.

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But it conceded twice in the second half to lose 2-1 and leave Atletico still standing at the top.

THE VAR DECISION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

A goalless draw between Atletico and Barca left the title in Real Madrid's hands when it faced Sevilla the next day, and the pendulum looked to be swinging its way when Karim Benzema earned a penalty.

 

Zinedine Zidane's side was one kick away from taking control of the title race when the referee was told by his video assistant (VAR) to look at an earlier handball by Real's Eder Militao.

The official overruled the penalty to instead award one to Sevilla and captain Ivan Rakitic converted to give the visitor a 2-1 lead.

Real snatched a draw in the end but a golden chance had gone.

FIDEL SPARES ATLETICO'S BLUSHES

Atletico has long been known as 'the cursed ones' since its 1974 European Cup final defeat to Bayern Munich but any historical bad luck seems to have been repaid this season.

Take what happened when it conceded a last-minute penalty when defending a 1-0 lead at struggling Elche in May.

Fidel Chaves had the chance to strike a huge blow to Atletico's title hopes but sent his spot-kick against the post and Simeone's side, yet again, clung on to its advantage.

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