Barcelona had a tough Wednesday night at Camp Nou against Atlético Madrid, with a hard-fought 90-minute battle that ended in a 1-1 draw. There were casualties, like an injury to Lionel Messi, but there are good things to take away from what we saw against the Colchoneros. Here's three of them:
1 - The draw is a good result for Barça
Let's make something very clear: Atlético Madrid are a giant European team, now. Had this draw happened against Man City, Man United, Bayern or Real Madrid nobody would complain that much. Atleti might not play like a giant, but they are one and have an incredible manager who coaches fantastic players. The circumstances also play a part in this being a good result: the second half was a disaster, with the most important player on the team (Busquets) and the best player on the team (Messi) leaving early. No team can survive losing such key pieces of the squad, and any other team would have crumbled after losing key players and conceding a goal. But Barça recovered and dominated the final 20 minutes of the match, which proves the mental strength of this team. There are negatives to take from this result (Mascherano), but there are a lot more positives. It's a good result, especially because of the circumstances.
2 - Barça's first half was a masterpiece
I honestly did not expect Barça to play so well against Atleti like they did in the first 45 minutes. It was a show, a perfect execution to a clear gameplan: be patient, pass the ball, switch sides constantly and have the 'MSN' trio make numerous decoy runs to throw the Atleti defense off balance and find the full-backs wide open. Rakitic and Iniesta were also amazing in that half, and if it weren't for the insanity of the early minutes of the second half, Barça would have won this comfortably. This is why this draw is good but also sad: it wasn't like Barça played badly and escaped with a draw. Barça dominated, made Atlético uncomfortable where they are the most comfortable (on defense) and would have scored another goal or two in the second half. But crap happened.
3 - Andrés Iniesta is an international treasure
I won't even talk about his performance. This is enough:
Love you, Don.