Barcelona’s domestic season is most likely over. The Blaugrana could finish Matchday 33 four points behind leaders Real Madrid and say goodbye to the title race thanks to a 2-2 draw against Atlético Madrid at Camp Nou. A wild game that saw an own goal, three penalties given, four penalties taken, four goals scored and Lionel Messi’s 700th career goal ended up with two more points dropped for the two-time defending champions, who are almost certainly not going to successfully defend their title this season.
The first half was very lively to start, with a dangerous free-kick by Carrasco for Atlético and a dangerous free-kick by Messi that was cleared by Diego Costa at the near post. The very next play, Costa tried to clear Messi’s corner at the near post, but he missed the header and the ball went in off his right leg to give Barça an early lead.
Almost immediately after Barça’s opener, Gerard Piqué missed a tackle and Carrasco was through on goal, and Arturo Vidal was forced to commit a penalty to stop the play. Then hilarity ensued: Diego Costa had his penalty brilliantly stopped by Ter Stegen, but VAR brought the play back and Ter Stegen was given a yellow card for stepping over the line with both feet, which is now a bookable offense according to the new rules, which haven’t been enforced anywhere until that very moment.
Saúl Ñíguez stepped up to take the second penalty and scored it easily, and we were all square after 20 wild minutes of football. Then nothing else happened exceot for a million sideways passes from Barça midfielders and a good save by Jan Oblak to stop a Messi free-kick.
The second half started lively just as the first, with Felipe bringing down Nélson Semedo in the box for a Barcelona penalty. Messi stepped up to the spot, sent Oblak the wrong way with a Panenka and scored his 700th career goal.
Atlético didn’t look discouraged with the early goal and continued to attack searching for an equalizer, and they got a chance when Carrasco was brought down again in the box, this time by Semedo, and Atleti had another penalty. Saúl stepped up again and scored his second of the night, and the game was all square again with 30 minutes to go.
Barça looked very strong for about 15 minutes after Atleti’s equalizer, moving the ball quicker and attempting more direct passes. Vidal came close to scoring twice, but the team lost momentum after the second half water break and once again looked slow and uninspired as we reached stoppage time.
Nothing else happened except for Antoine Griezmann coming on in the 90th minute and misplacing two passes with his first two touches, and the final whistle came to end a hard-fought battle at Camp Nou. Bye bye, La Liga title. No three-peat this year.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal (Griezmann 90’), Busquets (Ansu Fati 85’), Rakitic (Roberto 62’); Puig; Messi, Suárez
Goals: Diego Costa (12’ OG), Messi (49’ pen)
Atlético: Oblak; Arias, Giménez, Felipe, Lodi; Correa (Vitolo 84’), Thomas, Saúl, Carrasco (Lemar 84’); Llorente (Félix 69’), Costa (Morata 77’)
Goals: Saúl (19’ pen, 62’ pen)