Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Atletico Madrid 1 Barcelona 2: Messi nets winner after coming off the bench

SoccerNews in General Soccer News, La Liga 12 Sep 2015

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Substitute Lionel Messi’s winner saw Barcelona record a 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid in Saturday’s La Liga encounter at the Vicente Calderon.

Both sides had won their opening two fixtures, but  only Barca were able to keep up their perfect record in the Spanish capital.

Atletico started without new signings Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Luciano Vietto and Jackson Martinez, while Luis Enrique opted to bench star attacker Messi.

Fernando Torres broke the deadlock after the interval, only for Neymar to restore parity four minutes later and Messi then scored the winner after coming off the bench.

The result sees Barcelona move top of the table with nine points from three matches, while Atletico sit fifth with six points.

Atletico got an early chance to open the scoring after Juanfran set up Torres, but the former Liverpool star sliced his volley over the crossbar.  

The visitors began to grow into the contest and Ivan Rakitic threatened with 15 minutes gone. Andres Iniesta reached the Croatia international after evading several challenges, but Jan Oblak made a good save to deny the midfielder.  

Torres then blasted off target following some excellent work from Antoine Griezmann.  

Luis Enrique’s men nearly broke the deadlock in the 25th minute via Luis Suarez, only for Oblak to deflect the Uruguay international’s shot from close range onto the crossbar with a miraculous reflex.  

The Catalans once more came close to the opener 10 minutes before the half-time, as Jeremy Mathieu reached Suarez with a long ball and he in turn found Neymar, only for the Brazilian attacker’s attempt to be blocked.

Atletico made a superb start to the second half and felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty after Javier Mascherano seemingly handled Torres’ cross. They had reason to celebrate shortly after, though, as Tiago opened up the Barcelona defence with a sublime pass and Torres coolly slotted home to make it 1-0.

Barcelona immediately levelled the scoring, however, as Neymar showed his class with a beautifully taken free-kick.

Substitute Ferreira Carrasco tried his luck with a right-footed shot after cutting inside, but his attempt lacked the power to worry Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi then came off the bench for the Catalans and the Argentina international did not need long to make an impact. Suarez set up his partner in crime up front and the 28-year-old opened his account this term with a sublime finish.

Martinez was introduced from the bench and had a decent chance to make it 2-2 just five minutes before the final whistle, but the Colombian striker’s volley ended in Ter Stegen’s hands as the visitors emerged victorious. 

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