Messi’s late show bags huge win for Barcelona
There were just four minutes of normal time remaining at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday when Lionel Messi picked up possession, played a one-two with Luis Suarez and curled a brilliant strike past Jan Oblak to score the winner for Barca.
The goal was his 30th against Atletico Madrid, his first at the Wanda Metropolitano and a crucial one in the title race. Barca move back to the top of the table and are now six points ahead of Atletico Madrid and have played a game less.
The strike also means that Messi has now scored at every single La Liga ground and has added to his tally of late winning goals for Barca.
4 - @FCBarcelona have collected 17 points in #LaLiga thanks to 52 Lionel Messi's goals the last five minutes. Four of these points have been earned vs Atlético de Madrid, more than any other opponent in the competition. Decisive pic.twitter.com/ObOhFGLGC6— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 2, 2019
Barcelona have been pretty awful away from home this season and they struggled against Atletico too at times, but their first win at the Wanda Metropolitano should inject some much-needed confidence. They’ll need it too as their next La Liga away game is at Anoeta.
Ernesto Valverde’s side also managed it without some key players. Nelson Semedo, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele were all missing due to injury and suspension.
Of course it was not the perfect performance and Barca rode their luck at times, but as Sergi Roberto put it after the match: “We suffered a bit but in games like this is where leagues are (won).”
Ter Stegen really is something else
Sunday’s match saw two of the world’s best goalkeepers take to the field in Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jan Oblak, and it was the German who stole the show in a stellar performance.
The German made a brilliant stop from Mario Hermoso and then produced another miraculous save to deny a powerful Alvaro Morata header to keep the scoreline at 0-0.
It was an astonishing piece of goalkeeping from Ter Stegen that kept Barcelona in the game while Atletico were very much on top.
Luis Suarez called MATS “spectacular” afterwards, Sergio Roberto talked about his “great saves,” while Valverde said he can “perform miracles.”
As for Ter Stegen, well he reckoned he was only doing his job in his post-match comments. He really is something else.
Sergi Roberto shines as Junior Firpo struggles
Sergi Roberto was another player who deserves credit for Barca’s win after putting in his best performance for some time as he continues to fill in for the injured Semedo.
The 27-year-old was a constant threat down the right flank, got back well to defend and even cleared one off the line, he also produced a great dummy run to help create space for Messi.
On the other flank Junior was targeted by Atletico Madrid and looked nervous throughout in a shaky showing from the left-back.
He almost scored an own goal when he deflected Hermoso’s cross past Ter Stegen and onto the post and was hesitant going forwards. After a bright performance against Dortmund this was a step backwards.