Barcelona moved eight points clear at the top of La Liga after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou. It was a tough old game with Lionel Messi the difference between the two sides. Barcelona bossed the first half, while Atletico had the better of the second, but there’s now a big gap between the two teams in the table.
Barcelona had a pretty good first half although it was fairly cagey stuff as you might expect to start with. Atletico were happy to let Barca have the ball and seemed to enjoy kicking Andres Iniesta.
They also had a few nibbles at Lionel Messi but were made to pay after 26 minutes. Barca were awarded a free kick just outside the box and up stepped the little genuis and put his kick over the wall and past a diving Jan Oblak. A brilliant goal and his 600th career strike as well.
Barca continued to dominate, with Atletico looking to play on the break, but lost Iniesta to injury before half-time. Andre Gomes came on to replace him and Barcelona made it to the break with the game still at 1-0 and with Marc-Andre ter Stegen having had almost nothing to do.
Atletico were a bit better after the break but still did not manage an effort on target until the 60th minute, a looping header from Saul Niguez. Barca were also suffering a bit with Gerard Pique taking another knock to his dodgy knee and looking far from comfortable.
Diego Simeone also threw on Angel Correa and Kevin Gameiro and now it was the visitors dominating the ball and Barcelona looking to play on the break. Antoine Griezmann blazed an effort over the bar but that was as close as the in-form forward came.
Luis Suarez did manage to get the ball into the back of the net on 76 minutes but it was ruled out for offside and minutes later Oblak saved well from Sergio Busquets as Barca looked a bit brighter.
Atletico also had one chalked off late on as Gameiro smashed home from close range but Diego Costa was offside in the build-up, and again it was a good call from the match officials.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Coutinho (Paulinho), Rakitić, Busquets, Iniesta (Gomes); Messi, Suarez.
Goal: Messi 35’
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Vrsaljko (Correa), Gimenez, Godin, Luis; Saul, Gabi (Gameiro), Thomas, Koke, Griezmann, Costa.