Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona played a tightly contested affair Sunday at Wanda Metropolitano. However, and even though there were lots of chances at both ends, only one goal was scored. A late goal from Lionel Messi lifted Barcelona to a huge 1-0 away win, a result that sends Los Blaugranas back to the top spot in the Liga standings.
Atletico Madrid started slightly better, though. Kieran Trippier smashed the post just seven minutes into the game, and Mario Hermoso also had a clear chance that he couldn’t capitalize in the first 20 minutes of action. Barcelona’s first clear scoring chance came through Ivan Rakitic, who tested Jan Oblak from long range, but the Slovenian made an easy save.
Luis Suarez and Alvaro Morata traded chances late in the first half, but Barca’s best scoring sequence came in the 43th minute thanks to Gerard Pique. The centre-back smashed a header off the bar when Oblak was beaten. As a result, the first half ended with a scoreless draw although fans were clearly enjoying a very intense match.
Things slowed down a bit in the second half, as the first clear scoring chance came in the 61st minute when Messi tested Oblak, but the goalkeeper was magnificent once again. Atletico responded with Angel Correa 10 minutes later, but Ter Stegen made another big save. At that point, both goalkeepers were among the biggest stars of the match.
It seemed the game was going to end scoreless, but Messi had other plans. The Argentina international drilled a shot into the bottom left corner out of Oblak’s reach in the 86th minute. It was an excellent goal from the Argentinian, and one that could be very valuable in the title race.
Atletico Madrid just didn’t find a way to turn things around. As a result, Los Blaugranas stole a huge win on the road, and that result lifts them to the top spot in the standings once again. Meanwhile, Los Colchoneros fell to 6th place in the standings, and the title is feeling further and further after each week.
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak (7); Kieran Trippier (6), Felipe (5), Mario Hermoso (6), Saul (4), Angel Correa (5) (Thomas Lemar (-), 73’), Hector Herrera (5) (Renan Lodi (-), 87’), Thomas Partey (5), Koke (6); Joao Felix (5) (Vitolo (5), 66’), Alvaro Morata (6)
Subs not used: Adan (GK), Santiago Arias, Marcos Llorente, Ivan Saponjic
FC Barcelona: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (6); Sergi Roberto (5), Gerard Pique (6) (Samuel Umtiti (-), 83’), Clement Lenglet (6), Junior Firpo (5); Arthur (5) (Arturo Vidal (-), 73’), Ivan Rakitic (6), Frenkie de Jong (6); Lionel Messi (8), Luis Suarez (7), Antoine Griezmann (5)
Subs not used: Neto (GK), Moussa Wague, Carles Aleña, Carles Perez, Ansu Fati
Goals: Lionel Messi (0-1, 86’)
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Yellow Cards: Thomas, Correa, Vitolo, Felipe (ATM); Junior Firpo, Pique, Rakitic, Lenglet (BAR)
Red Cards: None
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