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Atletico reigns in Spain

Monday, May 19, 2014

BARCELONA, Spain, May - Atletico Madrid claimed their 10th Spanish league crown on Saturday but first in 18 years after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at title rivals Barcelona.

Alexis Sanchez's stunning strike fired Barca into the lead on 33 minutes, but Diego Godin's header four minutes into the second-half was enough to give Atletico the point they needed to become the first side other than Barca and Real Madrid to win La Liga in 10 years.

A point for both sides means that Barca finish the season ahead of third-placed Real Madrid thanks to a better head-to-head record, three points adrift of Atletico.

Real Madrid enjoyed a 3-1 defeat of Espanyol earlier Saturday.

"We have fought all year and the work we have done is amazing. To last 38 games against two great teams Real Madrid and Barcelona is incredibly difficult," Godin told Canal Plus.

"The boss told us at half-time that we were going to score a goal. In the end football has been fair to us."

Barca, meanwhile, finish a disappointing season without a major trophy for the first time in six years.

"Congratulations to Atletico. They are deserving champions," said Barca captain for the day Andres Iniesta.

"We had our chances until the final game but they have been better and there is nothing more to say. We are hurt to lose the league in the final game.

"We depended on ourselves to win and we haven't done, so there is great disappointment because if we had managed to do it the feeling would be very different."

The visitors had started brightly but were dealt a huge blow after just 15 minutes when top scorer Diego Costa pulled up with the recurrence of a hamstring injury that will also make him a huge doubt for the Champions League final against Real Madrid next weekend.

Arda Turan was then also forced off with a hip injury.

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