Sunday, Spanish Football's Atletico Madrid, entering its match in first place on the La Liga table, had to come from behind to draw with visiting Malaga CF 1-1 at the Vicente Calderon. The draw ensured the La Liga title would be decided at the Camp Nou between Atletico and Barcelona on the last date of the domestic season.
Diego Costa, still nursing a nagging hamstring injury, did not suit up. But his teammates took up the slack in a first half that should have ended with the Colchoneros ahead. David Villa hit the crossbar and Koke and Raul Garcia should have done better with their chances.
The home team had the lion's share of possession while Malaga, with little to play for was happy to simply defend and wait out for a chance to counter. They were not always able build one the chances they were allowed, but they scored first on one of their few unearned opportunities.
The 65th minute Samu chipped the ball over Toby Alderweireld and Thibaut Courtois on a mistaken exchange between defender and goalkeeper. Samu then ran into the box to head the ball over from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Malaga 1, Atletico 0.
At the 73rd minute Toby Alderweireld, in the center of the box, headed a José Sosa into the bottom left corner to tie the game at one a piece. He thereby atoned for his earlier blunder.
Willy Caballero, the Malage keeper, was in spectacular form as he made countless saves in particular toward the end of the game, in what were five minutes of stoppage time. His performance kept Madrid from opening the scoring but also from pulling ahead once the game was tied.
At the 87th minute Marcos Angeleri was sent off for a second yellow but his absence played no major role in the outcome.
"We gave our utmost but the hosts did the same and earned their point. Now we go into the final game knowing what we need to do," said Atletico coach Diego Simeone.
Madrid have earned everything the hard was this year and winning the La Liga trophy will prove just as difficult as they must have expected it would be at the beginning of the season. The only caveat is they are in a position to win it outright in a single game. With Barcelona drawing 0-0 with Elche, the final seasonal game will be an actual final.