Barcelona might have been unlucky with their own stuff, but their rivals have helped. A lot.
After losing to Sevilla on Sunday, the Blaugrana could have seen Real Madrid surpass them and sit alone atop the La Liga table. But Los Blancos failed to win for the second straight league game, this time playing to a draw against Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderón, in a nervous Spanish capital derby on Sunday.
Real started well, pulling ahead with only eight minutes after a beautiful individual play and a cross from Dani Carvajal found Karim Benzema all alone in the box, and the French striker headed home the opening goal with ease. After that, the visitors looked in control and had chances to extend the lead, but the midfield slowly started to lose their edge and started to get overwhelmed by the Colchoneros, who won a crucial penalty when they already were the better side. Antoine Griezmann stepped to the spot, but missed as Keylor Navas made a beautiful save.
As the second half began, it looked like a matter of time before Atléti got their goal, but Real sit back and settled for counter-attacks with the return of Gareth Bale. Madrid coach Rafa Benítez attempted to strengthen his midfield with Mateo Kovacic, but he also couldn't improve a team that struggled to maintain control and didn't get any contributions from Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a terrible night.
Diego Simeone went for the equalizer with Jackson Martínez and Luciano Vietto, and the duo worked. Ten minutes before the final whistle, the Colombian striker made a brilliant piece of individual play and crossed it to Griezmann, who missed his tap-in but saw the young Argentinean take the rebound and tie the match.
In the end, a hard-fought 1-1 draw that actually helps Barça, who is now tied in second place with Real and Celta Vigo. As we head into the international break, things don't look that bad. And La Liga will be tough this season. Really tough.
Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Giménez, Luis; Gabi, Tiago, Óliver (Carraso), Griezmann; Correa (Vietto), Torres (Jackson)
Goal: Vietto (83')
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal (Arbeloa), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco (Bale), Benzema (Modric), Ronaldo
Goal: Benzema (9')