Atletico, Barca primed for Spanish title decider

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 15, 2014 at 6:49 am •  Published: May 15, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid face Barcelona at the Camp Nou with both teams vying for the Spanish league title.

Atletico leads Barcelona by three points in the standings, and only victory will see defending champion Barcelona lift their fifth trophy in six seasons and deny Atletico its first league championship in 18 years.

Atletico knows a draw will suffice in winning its first league title since 1996.

Four out of five matches between the sides have ended in a draw this season, with Atletico claiming a narrow 1-0 win in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

"The whole season comes down to 90 minutes," said Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta.

Here are five things to know about Saturday's game:

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SEASON FINALE, 64 YEARS LATER

Saturday's matchup is only the third time in league history the title has been decided in circumstances such as these.

And both Atletico and Barcelona were involved then too.

Atletico edged Sevilla in a final round decider to close the 1950/51 season — five years after Sevilla emerged triumphant against Barcelona in a similar showdown.

"We can't look to the past, we need to focus on the present," Atletico captain Gabi Fernandez said. "We have a historic opportunity to win the league and the Champions League also."

Atletico, which plays Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 24, hasn't competed for the title since its league-cup double triumph in 1995/96.

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DENTING THE DUOPOLY

Atletico is on the cusp of becoming the first winner besides Barcelona or Real Madrid to win the title since Valencia did it in 2004.

"Whoever manages to distance themselves from all the talk off the field in the buildup will have a better game," said Atletico coach Diego Simoene, who is likely to wait until game time to decide on the availability of injured striker Diego Costa.

Barcelona vowed to dedicate the league to former coach Tito Vilanova, who died last month.

"It would be brutal if we manage to win this league on the last day at home," Iniesta said. "We would celebrate like never before."

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BARCA'S MOTIVATION

You would hardly think Barcelona was still in the fight for the title after a look at its recent results.