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Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid, La Liga: Final Score 1-0, Barça restore 11-point lead with crucial victory at home

An excellent performance, a dramatic finish, and three giant points

FC Barcelona v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona have restored their 11-point lead at the top of the La Liga table and are back to winning ways after a three-game winless streak thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Atlético Madrid at the Spotify Camp Nou. Barça played very good attacking football for over 70 minutes but scored only the one goal and had to survive a lot of pressure from the Colchoneros at the end, but found a way to win and boost their chances of finishing the job in the title race.


Atlético nearly started the game with a goal as Antoine Griezmann hit the crossbar just 30 seconds into the match, and Barça’s defense was a little shaky in the first 10 minutes. But the Blaugrana eventually settled in and began dominating possession, and Frenkie De Jong had a huge impact on his return and ran the center of the park with his passing, ball carries and vision to keep the attacks going.

Barça’s offense was quick and had good variety, but they couldn’t penetrate Atleti’s well-organized defense and the game was mostly played in the middle third without any meaningful chances for either side. There were some hard tackles and very good intensity from the two teams, but the game was lacking some individual brilliance.

Griezmann nearly provided that himself and had a huge chance to put the visitors ahead with a shot from short range, but Marc-André ter Stegen made a fantastic reflex save. Shortly after that chance, a hopeful long ball from Ronald Araujo found Raphinha on the right wing and the Brazilian made a quick move and found Ferran Torres on the edge of the box, and the Spaniard showed great poise to take a touch in traffic and perfectly place his shot into the bottom corner to give Barça the lead just seconds before halftime.

At the break, a hard-fought game had Barça ahead but Atlético were very much alive, and the second half promised some fireworks.


Barça played even better to start the second half, translating their good attacks into real scoring chances that truly tested Jan Oblak and the Atlético defense. Gavi missed two of them, Ferran had a solid effort from distance, and Robert Lewandowski fired a shot on goal and nearly gave Raphinha a tap-in that was expertly saved by Oblak, all within the first 25 minutes of the period.

But the Blaugrana couldn’t convert any of their opportunities, which left the door open for Atleti to take more risks and look for a late equalizer. Griezmann had a third golden chance that was once again saved by Ter Stegen, and as we entered the final 15 minutes the visitors felt like they had a real shot at rescuing a point.

Barça had another golden chance to add a second and seal the victory when Lewandowski found himself one-on-one with Oblak with Raphinha next to the Pole ready to receive an easy pass, but Lewy was too selfish, tried to score from a difficult angle and missed a huge opportunity.

The game was wide-open going into the dying seconds, but Barça did a solid job of keeping possession and frustrating Atleti’s players, who committed some hard fouls and received a half-dozen yellow cards in less than 10 minutes. There was more drama late as the ball hit Sergio Busquets’ arm and Atleti asked for a penalty, but neither the referee or VAR saw enough to give a spot kick to the away side.

The final whistle came to end Atlético’s blitz and give Barça three giant points and a huge confidence boost with 8 games to go. The victory is crucial, yes, but the most encouraging part was the quality of the performance. The attack was creative and produced real chances, and if the finishing improves this team will be just fine and will clinch the title.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Alonso (Eric 61’), Balde; Gavi, Busquets, De Jong (Kessie 78’); Raphinha (Fati 90+2’), Lewandowski, Ferran (Pedri 61’)

Goals: Ferran (44’)

Atlético: Oblak; Savic, Giménez, Hermoso (Reguilón 79’); Molina, De Paul, Witsel (Barrios 59’), Lemar (Saúl 67’), Carrasco; Correa (Morata 59’), Griezmann


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