‘I knew Atletico Madrid was about suffering… but not THIS much!’: Luis Suarez reflects on ‘sacrifice’ in pursuit of LaLiga after striker’s last-gasp winner against Osasuna keeps his side on track to pip Real Madrid to the title
- Luis Suarez hit an 88th-minute winner as Atletico Madrid downed Osasuna
- Atletico are one victory away from landing a first LaLiga title since 2014
- The Uruguayan hailed the team’s work rate after a nerve-shredding game
- Coach Diego Simeone said Suarez showed ‘a rebellious spirit’ to end drought
Luis Suarez had heard all about Atletico Madrid’s habit of making life hard for themselves but he only truly understood what that meant after scoring a late goal in Sunday’s epic 2-1 win over Osasuna to keep his side in pole position for the LaLiga title.
Atletico have been top of LaLiga since January but the title was slipping from their grasp when Ante Budimir gave Osasuna the lead with their first shot on target.
Renan Lodi soon equalised before Suarez compensated for missing a slew of opportunities to win the game with a deadly finish from inside the area in the 88th minute.
Luis Suarez celebrates his late winning goal in Atletico Madrid’s epic 2-1 win over Osasuna
The goal unleashed scenes of untold joy among Atletico, who are just one win from the title
‘Everyone tells you that suffering is part of Atletico’s identity but I didn’t think this much,’ Suarez said.
‘But that is what this team is about, effort and sacrifice, many people working really hard to ensure the club achieves its objectives.’
Atletico utterly dominated the game against mid-table Osasuna but their nerves appeared to be getting the better of them as they missed chance after chance.
Suarez was as guilty as anyone, firing an early chance against Osasuna keeper Sergio Herrera, who did his best to ensure a nerve-shredding afternoon for the leaders.
Suarez then hit the post from close range with Herrera beaten and more chances went begging for him and his team mates in the second half, while Yannick Carrasco and Stefan Savic had goals ruled out for offside.
Suarez’s goal drought meanwhile looked set to stretch to six games until he buried a lay off from Yannick Carrasco, finally getting the better of Herrera and scoring his 20th goal of the season.
‘We didn’t deserve to suffer like we did, it was one of our best first-half performances of the season but we missed so many chances, me more than anyone. But to win La Liga you have to suffer and that’s what we had to do today,’ Suarez added.
The goal was a lifeline for Atletico but a sucker punch for second-placed Real Madrid, who beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 and would have gone top were it not for the Uruguayan’s late winner.
Suarez hailed Atletico’s ‘effort and sacrifice’ after finally scoring to see off gritty Osasuna
Real Madrid did their part by beating Athletic Bilbao but the title is out of their hands
Now all Atletico have to do is beat Real Valladolid away from home in their final game to lift a first league title since 2014 and break Real and Barcelona’s six-year stranglehold on Spain’s biggest prize.
Last year’s champions Real are two points behind Atletico. They must beat Villarreal in their final game and hope for a miracle from relegation-fighting Valladolid.
‘In the water break we heard Real were winning and sometimes the tension gets the better of you but we kept our patience and kept on creating chances,’ Suarez added.
‘Now we have to win at Valladolid in the most important game of the season.’
Getting four-time LaLiga winner Suarez from Barcelona for next to nothing was a stroke of genius from Atletico and coach Diego Simeone always felt his striker would come out of his slump to score when it mattered most.
Before the game, Simeone had said Atletico were ‘entering the Suarez zone’ in a bid to lift the Uruguayan’s confidence and he hailed the 34-year-old after he decided the game to spark jubilant scenes on the Wanda Metropolitano pitch.
‘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 said.
‘He showed a rebellious spirit, he has not been scoring recently but he kept on coming close.’
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