Barcelona and Atletico Madrid’s games are never short of excitement.
Such was the case on Wednesday night at Camp Nou where two La Liga heavyweights met in a tense encounter that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Angel Correa’s second-half goal cancelled out Ivan Rakitic’s opener in a game that will have felt like a loss to Barcelona, who lost their key players Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets to injury in the second half.
Read our in-depth match report to find about all key moments from the game:
Having shuffled his deck for the last two La Liga matches, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique once again picked his strongest possible line-up for the highly anticipated Atletico Madrid clash.
Sergi Roberto returned to the fold at right back, while midfielder Sergio Busquets also found his place in the team after Enrique rested him last time out. No changes were seen in attack with the untouchable MSN trio leading the line in front of Atletico’s goal.
As for the visiting team, Diego Simeone switched back to 4-3-3 for the trip to Camp Nou, but he still went full force in attack with Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro and Yannick Fereira Carrasco forming the trident in front of ter Stegen’s goal.
Atletico Madrid went in the game a tad more defensively though, with Gabi stepping in his midfield role at the expense of the summer signing Nico Gaitan, who started on the bench.
Having come to Barcelona on the back of three consecutive clean sheets, Atletico Madrid held pretty well for most of the proceedings in the first half, denying tenacious Barcelona with a strong defensive wall in front of Jan Oblak’s goal.
The Catalan giants refused to give up their recognisable style of play as they attempted to break the deadlock with high-pressure game in Atletico Madrid’s half, but the best defence in La Liga held pretty well.
Having failed to get in good scoring positions in the opening stages, Barcelona got their first chance in the game through Lionel Messi who tried his luck after 15 minutes with a shot just outside the area, but Jan Oblak had no problems stopping the shot.
Persistent attacks yielded little result and the Catalans struggled to get past the last line of defence. Neymar came close to scoring 36 minutes inside the game as he got on to the rebound inside the box, only to smash it wide of the right post.
Atletico Madrid spent the majority of the time in first half defending their goal, but the visitors used every chance they got to try and score a goal. In-form Yannich Fereira Carrasco has been the most agile player in Diego Simeone’s team, giving Barcelona defence a ride on multiple occasions.
Minutes before the break Barcelona decided to change the style and it paid off.
It wasn’t exactly the Barcelona trademark moment when Andres Iniesta sent a high cross inside the box, but Ivan Rakitic displayed great areal awareness to pick up the header in between Atletico defenders and to put the ball behind Jan Oblak for a much needed break just before the half time.
Barcelona continued their dominant possession play after the interval as well, but it was the vicitors who had the first goal opportunity in the second half.
Antoine Griezmann made a great solo run towards the goal and unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen pulled a crucial save to deny his effort.
Hosts were dealt a huge blow at the hour mark as Leo Messi was forced of with a thigh injury he picked while running to recover the ball. The Argentine wizard was replaced by Arda Turan, but his absence proved crucial as the visiting team managed to equalise only one minute later.
Angel Correa fired a bullet towards Barcelona goal just outside the box into the bottom left corner and only a minute after he was introduced for Kevin Gameiro.
The game opened up after the equaliser and the fans were finally given plenty of reason to feel excited after a mainly one-sided 45 minutes.
Both teams attempted to catch a break and grab a lead that would have meant sure three points, and Barcelona came agonisingly close to getting upfront again through Gerard Pique after 83 minutes. Barcelona defender was on the receiving end of a cross and managed to fire a decent shot from close range sending it narrowly wide of the right post.
Atletico Madrid had a chance of their own five minutes later when Diego Godin met a cross from the set-piece, but his header went straight into ter Stegen’s hands.
There was no change to the result in the endas both teams were forced to settle for a draw in this clash of the titans.
- Barcelona dominated possession with 70% to Atletico’s 30%
- The Catalans made 19 goal attempts, 10 more than the visiting side
- Barca fired 7 shots on target to Atletico Madrid’s 4
- Feisty affair at Camp Nou ended in total of 6 yellow cards
- Barcelona extended their 15-match unbeaten run at home against Atletico Madrid
BARCELONA: ter Stegen 7 – Roberto 6.5, Pique 7, Mascherano 7, Alba 7 – Rakitic 8, Busquets 7 (Gomes 6), Iniesta 7.5 – Messi 7 (Turan 6), Suarez 6.5, Neymar 6.5
Unused subs: Cillessen, Digne, Mathie, Alcacer, Suarez D.
ATLETICO MADRID: Oblak 7 – Juanfran 7, Savic 7.5, Godin 7, Filipe Luis 7.5 – Koke 7, Gabi 7, Niguez 6.5 (Torres 6) – Griezmann 6.5, Gameiro 6 (Correa 7), Carrasco 7.5 (Teye 6)
Unused subs: Gaitan, Gimenez, Lucas, Moreira.
REFEREE: David Fernandez Borbalan