High fives all round! The league challenge is back on / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

On Saturday night, Barça fans were dejected. When Lafita headed home a last minute equaliser for Getafe at the Camp Nou, even the remotest hope of still being able to win the Liga title seemed to have been lost.

Doom and gloom

“The league is over. This team is finished” lamented Barcelona-based newspaper Sport against an ominously black background on its Sunday morning cover. Meanwhile, El Mundo Deportivo spoke of how “Barça have said goodbye to the only title they had left to win.” But over in Madrid, the papers were celebrating. “Barça throw away the league and hand the title on a plate to Atlético” beamed Marca, while As proclaimed that “Barça have already left for their holidays.”

The situation did look extremely bleak. Here at www.fcbarcelona.com we were just as unhopeful about Barça’s chances when we said that “the result as good as puts an end to FC Barcelona’s title bid. They are still mathematically in the hunt, but are now relying on a series of highly unlikely failures from both Atlético and Real Madrid.” The hopelessness of the situation had some bookies dropping the odds on Barcelona to as low as 100-1.

Sunday night drama

But Sunday produced an incredible turnaround in affairs. Leaders Atlético slumped to unexpected defeat at Levante, a side that had absolutely nothing to play for. By winning their last two games, Barça would now finish above the red-and-whites. But they also needed Real Madrid to drop at least three points. And that would have happened had Cristiano Ronaldo not grabbed them a late equaliser against Valencia.

What a difference a day makes. Just 24 hours after everyone was saying it was all over for Barça, the odds had been slashed to just 3-1. “The miracle is possible!” yelled Sport, while El Mundo Deportivo believed everything was now “in Luis Enriques’s hands,” referring to Madrid’s pending trip to Celta.

Real shocker

We wouldn’t even need to wait that long. On Wednesday night, Real Madrid had a postponed fixture away to Valladolid to play. With five minutes to go, it looked like Sergio Ramos’s goal had done the job for the visitors, but Osorio’s 85th minute strike secured a shock 1-1 draw. Now it’s Madrid whose title bid looks over, and all of a sudden Barça find themselves right back in contention. Wins in Elche and at home to Atlético Madrid would secure the trophy for the Catalans.

“The all-whites stunned in Valladolid. Madrid give us the league!” proclaimed Sport this morning, though adding that “Barça can’t afford to make any more mistakes.” El Mundo Deportivo was in a similarly cautious mood, saying that “Madrid’s setback in Pucela gives Barça wings. It is back in their own hands. Barça need to recover their winning spirit and give it everything they have.”

Now it’s Real Madrid who have thrown in the towel. “Goodbye Liga!” was the headline in As this morning, while Marca led by saying that “Madrid go off the rails and leave the league in the hands of Atlético and Barça.”

With Real Madrid as good as out of the equation, and with Barça having home advantage in their final-day showdown with direct contenders Atlético Madrid, the odds on Barcelona winning La Liga have now been shortened to evens. And that’s something that absolutely nobody would have dared to predict on Saturday night. The old chiché goes that 'anything can happen in football'. And following this week's events, it's hard to argue with that!

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