Barcelona followed up their midweek Champions League win over Porto with another huge victory against Atletico in La Liga on Sunday. Joao Felix, who else?, scored the only goal of the game to maintain Barca’s great recent run against the Rojiblancos.
Barcelona made a great start to the game and carved out a chance inside the first minute. Ilkay Gundogan did well down the right and found Raphinha, who swapped passes with Pedri and ran through on goal but scuffed a poor shot wide.
Minutes later, Felix intercepted a ball inside the Atletico half and played in Robert Lewandowski but his shot on goal was blocked by Mario Hermoso. Lewandowski had another chance minutes later but could only volley a cross from Jules Kounde miles over the crossbar.
Barcelona were enjoying themselves down the right flank, while Gundogan was simply running the show in midfield. The goal was always coming and eventually arrived on 28 minutes. Kounde and Raphinha combined yet again, with the Brazilian driving infield and finding Felix. The former Atletico man took a touch, raced into the area and dinked a composed finish over Jan Oblak.
Atletico had few sights of goal but did come close to an equaliser 10 minutes before half-time. A rare break upfield saw the ball worked out to Griezmann inside the area. The Frenchman went for goal but saw his effort brilliantly blocked by a flying Frenkie de Jong.
The action then switched to the other end with Lewandowski and Gundogan teeing up Felix for another good chance but his smart shot was saved by Oblak.
Diego Simeone made three changes at half-time in a bid to get his team back in the game. On came Angel Correa, Cesar Azpilicueta and Samuel Lino but Barcelona kept on coming and were within a whisker of adding a second just before the hour.
Again it was Raphinha running across the pitch and going for goal. The Brazilian’s shot beat Jan Oblak but hit the post and flew to safety. The chance drew an instant response from Atletico with another counter ending in Griezmann firing into the side netting.
More chances came in the closing stages for both sides. The pick was undoubtedly a free-kick from substitute Memphis Depay that was brilliantly tipped onto the woodwork Inaki Pena in the Barcelona goal.
Lewandowski then had the chance to win it with just five minutes of normal time remaining but again he conspired to put his shot wide. The final minutes were very scrappy, with Pena needing to make another great block late on to preserve the win and a really crucial three points.
Barcelona: Peña; Araujo, Kounde, Chrisensen, Cancelo; Pedri (Fermin Lopez, 88’), De Jong, Gündogan; Raphinha (Lamine Yamal, 76’), Lewandowski, Félix (Ferran Torres, 76’)
Goals: Felix (28’)
Atlético: Oblak; Giménez (Lino, 46’), Witsel, Hermoso; Molina Azpilicueta, 46’), Llorente, Koke (Saul, 66’), De Paul, Riquelme (Correa, 46’); Griezmann, Morata (Memphis, 66’)