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Tuesday 31 May 2016

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Barca set up title showdown: Save by Malaga denied Atletico Madrid chance to wrap up Primera Division title

By Robert Jones

Published 12/05/2014

Blank day: David Villa fails to score for Atletico Madrid
Blank day: David Villa fails to score for Atletico Madrid

An outstanding save by Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero denied Atletico Madrid the opportunity to wrap up the Primera Division title at their Vicente Calderon stadium.

The Argentinian goalkeeper produced a fingertip save to keep out a curling shot from Adrian in the final minute of stoppage time, ensuring the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

It sets up a mouthwatering showdown between Atletico and their nearest title rivals Barcelona next weekend, with Diego Simeone's side requiring only a point to lift their first league title in 18 years.

Barcelona played their part in setting up a winner-takes-all clash on the last day of the season after they drew 0-0 against strugglers Elche.

The results mean Barca and Atletico will face each other at the Nou Camp in a Primera Division title showdown next Sunday, with only a win enough for Gerardo Martino's side to claim the league honours.

Atletico lead Barca by three points following the two draws on Sunday but victory for Barca would give them their 23rd Liga crown on head-to-head record, having drawn with Atleti earlier in the season.

Celta Vigo ended any lingering hopes Real Madrid had of League glory by claiming a 2-0 victory over Carlo Ancelotti's men at Estadio Balaidos.

The capital club needed a remarkable set of results to go in their favour to take the title, although rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona's failure to win gave them a superb opportunity to catapult themselves back into contention following draws in their last two fixtures. But instead Celta claimed their third win on the bounce, Brazilian forward Charles' capitalising on two errors from Real to bag a brace and leave the visitors five points behind leaders Atletico with just one match remaining.

Perhaps more worryingly, Real are stuttering at the worst possible time. With the league gone, the Copa del Rey winners play Atletico in the Champions League final on May 24 and, should they fail to defeat Espanyol next time out, they will go into the game in Lisbon on the back of four games without a win.

Cristiano Ronaldo was absent due to injury, while Gareth Bale was an unused substitute for Los Blancos.

Almeria gave themselves a great chance of avoiding relegation from the Primera Division with a 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Granada.

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