Hope. This is the word floating around Barcelona fans and players minds after an amazing Sunday of games. The 2-2 draw at home against Getafe on Saturday looked like the final whistle to Barça's season. La Liga was out of hand. There was no coming back. The next day, both Atlético and Real Madrid were going to have relatively easy games. If they win it, we could start to sell and buy players, fire the current manager and bring in a new one, because everything is over.
Hold on, stop. Just for a bit. It's not over. Atlético somehow lost by 2-0 to Levante, despite having countless scoring opportunities - we can credit Levante's goalkeeper Keylor Navas for that - which already gave Barça some reason to celebrate. A few hours later, the hardest part: Valencia went to Santiago Bernabéu. A win or even a draw from the visitors would already be very helpful. And if it wasn't for a sensational Cristiano Ronaldo goal, Valencia would accomplish the unthinkable. But they at least got a 2-2 draw, that gives us a chance to win what seemed impossible just 24 hours earlier.
This is what's funny about this sport: unlike a lot of the other ones, literally anything can happen. It's not rocket science; you can't simply assume a team is going to win just because it is better than the opponent. The numbers and stats also don't really matter when you put 22 men together on a pitch. That's what we saw on Sunday. That's why we love this game so much. That's what gave us hope.
Now, let's take a look at the numbers. Before the games begin, they are important. This is the math for the three title contenders:
1. Atlético (88 points, 36 matches played) - 2 wins OR 1 win + 1 draw (remaining games: vs Málaga, at Barcelona)
2. Barcelona (85 points, 36 matches played) - 2 wins + Real Madrid Draw OR Real Madrid Loss (remaining games: at Elche, vs Atlético)
If you're thinking "DANG! IF WE HAD BEATEN GETAFE ON SATURDAY WE JUST NEEDED TWO WINS!", I'm totally with you. Barça let a gigantic chance of winning the title go away, but things are not over. We can still believe.
And, remember, Valladolid, Real Madrid's next opponent, defeated Barcelona not too long ago. Maybe they can do it again...
But yes, this Liga should be over by now. Barça wrote a textbook on how to blow a lead this season, and now needs help. Valencia did it. Maybe one of the next three can do it.
And, of course, BARÇA NEEDS TO DO ITS DAMN JOB! FOR ONCE! Atlético is Atlético, and we know how hard it is to even score a goal against Simeone's defense. But this will be the last chance, and scoring goals on Simeone's defense could also mean winning La Liga's title when nobody (even Barça fans) thought it was possible.
If Sunday taught us something, is to never doubt the power of the surprises in football. Nobody saw it coming, and I'm pretty sure not a lot of us will expect what is going to happen next. Perhaps, we will be the ones thanking the Football Gods in two weeks time.
We just need to have hope.
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