clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Matches that Defined Barcelona's La Liga Win, Part 1

Barça won the crown after a hard-fought campaign with several key moments.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Barcelona's first title has arrived.

Who else but Lionel Messi scored and the Blaugrana cruised to a 1-0 victory over defending champions Atletico Madrid to put the final nail in Real Madrid's coffin.

We take a look back at the some of the big matches that defined the title:

Matchday 2

Villarreal 0-1 Barcelona

Oh sure, the first match was fun. The Camp Nou Kitty Cat strolled out on the pitch, we saw many of the players making their debuts, Mascherano was sent off, and Barcelona won 3-0 against likely relegation strugglers Elche. But then things got real.

Villarreal were a tough unit that refused to bow down to the visiting Blaugrana. Things were looking like it was going to end in a 0-0 draw. Neymar was only fit for the bench and Luis Suarez was banned, so youngsters Munir El-Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez had to log key minutes alongside Messi. Sandrito proved decisive.

Messi would receive a pass in space near the goaline on the right, and his shot / pass would go through the legs of a defender and trickle through Villarreal's keeper Sergio Asenjo. Sandro would be on hand to tap in the goal and secure the win.

Matchday 13

Valencia 0-1 Barcelona

Another hard-fought away match against quality opposition that looked destined to end 0-0. Yet another unlikely goal hero.

Valencia had been admirable the whole match, forcing Claudio Bravo into a series of sharp saves. Barcelona had their chances, too, but the match was finely balanced. Normal time had ended, and 3 minutes were added on. Barça had a corner, which was taken short, and passed to the opposite flank. Lionel Messi was on the ball. He put in a perfect cross which Neymar met with his head, but Diego Alves saved the sure goal with his chest, of all things. Was the dream dead? No - on came Sergio Busquets, who averages a goal a season, to score his only goal in the campaign so far. And what a time to do it.

Matchday 17

Real Sociedad 1-0 Barcelona

Rarely does a loss become such a pivotal moment for the champions as this loss against La Real. David Moyes did what other managers have done for the past few seasons: beat Barcelona at Anoeta. It was a nightmare of a loss, with Jordi Alba scoring an own goal in the opening minutes. Lionel Messi and Neymar both came off the bench but there was little understanding - or really, much of anything - from the disjointed Blaugrana. The sporting director, Andoni Zubizarreta, would be sacked, and rumors would swirl that Luis Enrique had lost the dressing room. Messi followed Chelsea on Instagram, absolute chaos. And yet...

Matchday 18

Barcelona 3-1 Atletico Madrid

Something started to change. There was a player's meeting, with the likes of Xavi, Sergio Busquets, and Andres Iniesta intervening. The rift between player and coach was mended. Messi started to sacrifice himself even more and Lucho tinkered with the tactics to suit everyone better. The result? The beginning of a scintillating run of form.

Atletico were the defending champions, but they looked like schoolboys. The understanding of the MSN trio was finally taking shape as Suarez had had time to settle into the team after his ban.

First it was Messi on a typical super dribble, passing to Suarez, who perhaps accidentally teed up Neymar to open the scoring.

Then Messi recovered a high ball with his shoulder - Atleti argued his arm - and went on another superb run, drawing defenders toward him, before clipping it to Suarez to smash into the net.

Messi would then star in Atletico's goal. Jesus Gamez would dribble into the area, with Messi half-attempting a challenge. He lightly brushed Gamez's foot, and Gamez went to the floor. A very soft penalty was given. Mario Mandzukic would put it beyond Bravo to make it 2-1.

But Barcelona would answer. Luis Suarez sent a crossfield ball to Messi, who rolled it to Ivan Rakitic in a good position. Rakitic played the ball back to an on rushing Messi, sliding in to take the shot. The ball was beyond him however, and it bounced off an Atleti defender.

But it fell kindly to Messi, who slotted in the definitive winner.

Come back soon when we'll talk about the other games that shaped the Liga title.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes