Barcelona came into this game sitting at number eight on the log despite not losing any game so far. Their last La Liga game was a 3-0 win over Levante. Atletico Madrid lost their previous La Liga game against Alaves but came in fourth. The Madrid side came out in a 352 shape(it sometimes changed to a 343 when Thomas Lemar & Joao Felix changed position). The Barcelona shape was hard to decipher with ball-hogging players everywhere and barely any runners in behind.
The first shot of the game was fashioned by Lemar when he cut in and fired on 8. On 16, Felix dragged a shot wide of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s goal. Barcelona tried to control the ball while the Rojiblancos contained them & countered. Four minutes later, Yannick Carrasco mistakenly fired a free-kick towards the goal, & it had Ter Stegen thinking. In the 23rd minute, one of Atletico’s counters turned into a goal.
Felix turned his man out wide before feeding former Barcelona man Luis Suarez who slid a pass for Lemar to collect and finish. Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona.
Barcelona added more seriousness going forward. Memphis Depay was finding joy attacking the space between the third central defender and the wing-back. His inverted cross was headed away before Phillipe Coutinho fired towards the goal. The ball veered wide. The Blaugrana then played some lovely stuff, but Frenkie De Jong could not get his head on the end of Depay’s setup header. Luis Suarez missed a sitter after a great pass from Felix, but he made amends minutes later.
Just before halftime, Atletico Madrid showed another masterclass in counter-attacking football. Felix to Lemar and the Frenchman eliminated Gerard Pique with an over-the-top pass before Luis Suarez calmed down and slotted home. Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona.
Kieran Trippier replaced Rodrigo De Paul, while Sergi Roberto replaced Nico Gonzalez. Coutinho had the first chance of the second half. Gavi stole the ball and came forward after an error from Mario Hermoso. He set the ball up for Coutinho, but Jan Oblak made the save. Ansu Fati replaced Coutinho. On 65, Felix & Suarez opened Barca’s defense before the former fired straight at the goalkeeper.
On 70, Fati fired a comfortable shot at Oblak. Angel Correa replaced Felix & Antoine Griezmann came on for Suarez. Griezmann should have done better when he stole the ball from Ronald Araujo opting to fire a pass out of play. Riqui Puig replaced Gavi while Luuk De Jong replaced Oscar Mingueza.
As Depay failed to meet a long ball, Diego Simeone screamed “Ahora, Ahora” urging Wanda Metropolitano to support their players for the last ten minutes. They responded to the clarion call. Renan Lodi replaced Carrasco & Felipe for Hermoso. Ronald Koeman was in the stands, and he made some calls for Clement Lenglet to replace Dest. Joan Laporta said Koeman’s job was safe, but this performance was diabolical and as one-sided as they come. There was never a time Barcelona looked like winning this game. It ended Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona.
Oblak is now the first keeper to keep three consecutive clean sheets against Barcelona. A convincing win for Atletico Madrid & Diego Simeone to cherish.
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