‘Who better than Suarez?’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 18, 2021

‘Who better than Suarez?’

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said he was grateful the ball dropped to Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan struck an 88th-minute goal in Sunday's 2-1 win over Osasuna which kept his side on course to win the La Liga title.

Atletico Madrid took a giant step towards the La Liga title with 83 points after 37 games. Real Madrid however ensured the title race will go down to the final weekend as they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at San Mames on Sunday thanks to a second-half goal from defender Nacho Fernandez.

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The result sees second-placed Real move onto 81 points while Barcelona saw their hopes of winning La Liga extinguished as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Suarez, Atletico's top scorer this season, had not found the net in his previous five outings and had wasted a series of clear chances in a nerve-shredding penultimate game of the season.

Atletico looked to have blown the chance to win the title when Ante Budimir gave Osasuna a shock late lead, just as nearest challengers Real Madrid went ahead against Athletic Bilbao.

But Brazilian left back Renan Lodi equalised before Suarez finally kept his cool in front of goal to turn in a Yannick Carrasco pass and was then buried beneath a sea of his team mates' bodies.

"Suarez has so much experience and who better than him to resolve a game like that when it looked to be slipping away from us," Simeone told reporters. "Suarez showed incredible spirit, he has not been scoring recently but he kept on coming close."

Simeone had talked up the Uruguayan's big-game experience ahead of the match, saying Atletico were "entering the Suarez zone".

Suarez said he had not expected the game to be so difficult.

"Everyone tells you that suffering is part of Atletico's identity but I didn't think we'd suffer that much," the Uruguayan said.  "But that is what this team is about, effort and sacrifice, many people working really hard to ensure the club achieves its objectives. Now we have to rest and prepare for the next game."

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