Barcelona were dealt a big blow to their chances of winning La Liga thanks to a 0-0 draw against Atlético Madrid on Saturday. In a game they absolutely needed to win the Blaugrana played not to lose, and despite creating the best chances of the game they didn’t do nearly enough to earn three points in what was a truly pathetic performance.
Atlético were clearly the better team in the first half, but the game was not very good to watch at all. There was no flow to it and there was always a stoppage for something, etiher injury or foul. Barça were really bad with their passing and Atlético were always dangerous when they got the ball back, and that was the pattern for the entire period.
There were two big chances in the half, one for each team. First it Hermoso who was released down the left and found Correa with a cross inside the box for what seemed like an easy goal, but Lenglet made an amazing tackle to stop the Argentine.
The other chance came on a ridiculous run by Lionel Messi, who turned back the clock and carried the ball 40 yards while dribbling past everyone in sight, and his shot was destined for the back of the net before a brilliant save by Oblak.
At halftime, a poor game of football was goalless with Atleti the better side, and Barça needed to step up their game to win the second half.
The start of the second half was more of the same, with Atlético in complete control while Barça played like they didn’t know this was a must-win game. It was only in the final 30 minutes that the Blaugrana started to play with more urgency, but that’s when they ran into Jan Oblak, who made important saves throughout the last half-hour.
The absolute best chance of the game came with five minutes to go when Jordi Alba played a perfect cross to find Ousmane Dembélé all alone for a free header inside the six-yard box, but the Frenchman headed the ball over the bar and wasted a golden opportunity.
There was a free-kick in the 90th minute that Lionel Messi just missed, with the ball going agonizingly wide of the top corner. The final whistle came, and Barça’s season is almost over barring a miracle.
For a game this big, it was a pathetic display from a team that played not to lose. Not good enough.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (Araujo 46’), Piqué, Lenglet; Dest (Roberto 76’), De Jong, Busquets (Ilaix 31’), Pedri (Dembélé 76’), Alba; Messi, Griezmann
Atlético: Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Hermoso; Trippier, Llorente, Koke, Carrasco; Correa (Kondogbia 73’), Suárez, Lemar (Saúl 13’ (Félix 67’))