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Atletico dethrones cross town rival Real Madrid as La Liga champ with win at Valladolid

Atletico Madrid is back as the La Liga Santander champion.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Atletico Madrid reclaimed the La Liga Santander championship after a second half rally catapulted the club to a 2-1 win at Valladolid early Sunday (Philippine Time).

Despite conceding an early goal, Atletico turned up the heat midway into the second half to seal the title clincher.

With a golden opportunity to escape relegation at its own turf, the Jose Zorrilla Stadium, Valladolid struck first as Oscar Plano got a clear path to the goal and shot the ball in at the 18th minute.

Luckily for Atletico, cross town rival Real Madrid conceded a goal at home as Yeremi Pino stunned the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium with a 20th minute goal for visiting Villarreal.

Back in Valladolid, Angel Correa equalized for Atletico in the 57th minute after carving some space off the host club's backline.

Luis Suarez then pounced on a bad pass as he went all alone for the eventual game winner in the 67th minute even as Atletico held Valladolid the rest of the way, rendering any last gasp from Real Madrid useless.

Back in the Spanish capital, Karim Benzema sparked Real Madrid's late comeback with an 87th minute equalizer, and Luka Modric stole the home win for the now erstwhile champ with a stoppage time goal for the 2-1 count.

Atletico won the top division title for the 11th time, its first since 2014, while denying its neighbor a 35th league pennant.

On the other hand, Valladolid finished its season with four straight losses as it goes back to the second division after a three-year stay in top flight.

Elsewhere, Betis secured a seat in the UEFA Europa League with a 3-2 road win at Celta Vigo.

Sociedad also booked its place in the Europa League with a 1-0 win at Osasuna off a late strike from Alexander Isak.

Villarreal needed a win at Real Madrid and for either Betis or Sociedad to stumble to steal the continental competition slot, but the exact opposite happened.

Elche, meanwhile, successfully evaded relegation with a 2-0 home win against Bilbao.

Valencia, on the other hand, sent Huesca back to Division 2 with a goalless draw.

Barcelona also brought Eibar to relegation with a close 1-0 road win through Antoine Griezmann's late strike.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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