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Atlético Madrid-CA Osasuna: All in for the title

Atlético could become the new Spanish champions with a game to spare.

Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad - La Liga Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An Atlético Madrid victory, coupled with a Real Madrid draw or loss, will see Diego Simeone’s side win LaLiga on Sunday night.

On Wednesday, Atlético (24-8-4, 80 points) reached the 80-point plateau for the third time under Simeone’s stewardship. Madrid’s victory over Granada on Thursday ensured that the reigning champions will have options to bring the title race down to the final day — if Atleti beat Osasuna (11-11-14, 44 points), Simeone’s men will at least guarantee that they will be in first place entering matchday 38.

“We always follow the same line,” Diego Simeone said Saturday. “Our concern is the Osasuna match, (with) a team that has competed very well historically and will do so tomorrow as well. We are going to try to resolve our match, which is the most important thing.

“I see our team with excitement and enthusiasm.”

Osasuna will finish safe and sound in midtable for the second consecutive season. Goalkeeper Sergio Herrera and top scorer Ante Budimir have helped to stabilize los rojillos after a midseason rocky patch saw them slip into the drop zone. More impressively, Osasuna have secured a third straight season in Primera without significant contributions from Chimy Ávila, last season’s breakout star. The forward has played just 194 minutes since suffering an ACL tear in September.

C.A. Osasuna v Cadiz CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

“They have changed a lot,” Simeone said. “They use different systems, with 4-3-3 as a starting point, but they can modify it. Their coach is doing a great job, and we expect (to play) a great rival.”

Under Simeone, Atlético have won nine of ten meetings with Osasuna — including all four at home. Jan Oblak has kept four clean sheets in five all-time appearances against Osasuna, and Budimir has been the only player to beat him in this fixture. Oblak has recorded 18 clean sheets this season and is on track to win a fifth Zamora Trophy, which would bring him into a three-way tie for the most in league history.

João Félix hasn’t scored a goal against anyone since Feb. 28, but Osasuna are his favorite victim — the Portuguese has scored four times in three games against Sunday’s visitors, including a brace in a 3-1 win earlier this season.

Atletico de Madrid v Real Sociedad - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

“We hope that when João participates, he will give us what he has given us and (demonstrate) how important he is,” Simeone said. “The team needs him.”

Luis Suárez will look to end his poor recent run in front of goal — El Pistolero is still stuck on 19 goals and hasn’t netted in five games, his longest drought as a rojiblanco. He’s faced Osasuna only twice, scoring once as a member of Barcelona.

“We are entering the Suárez zone,” Cholo said. “This is the ideal moment for a footballer like him to resolve the situations that we may encounter. He is used to this kind of game.”

State of the squad Thomas Lemar (muscular injury) is Atlético’s only absentee. Left back Manu Sánchez, playing on loan at Osasuna, is in coach Jagoba Arrasate’s squad and eligible to participate.

Date May 16, 2021

Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 6:30 p.m. CEST, 5:30 p.m. GMT, 12:30 EST, 9:30 PST

Available TV/streaming Movistar Partidazo (Spain), DIRECTV Sports (Argentina), Sky HD (Mexico), Eleven Sports 4 (Portugal), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), DIRECTV Sports (Uruguay), beIN Sports Connect (United States), QQ Sports Live (China)