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Penalties Galore as Atlético Hold Barcelona to Give Real a Huge Title Boost

Barcelona hosted Atlético Madrid, with the hosts desperately needing a win to keep their title hopes alive. Real Madrid, on the other hand, were hoping for a favour from their local rivals to extend their lead at the top.

Atlético had the first big chance in the 5th minute when Carrasco won a free-kick on the left. The Belgian took it as well, and his wicked delivery missed everyone, and bounced wide of the far post.

Rakitić had a chance in the 8th minute, as he dispossessed Partey, and drove a shot from the edge of the box. Oblak was equal to it, and he made the save.

Barcelona went in front in the 11th minute, as Messi’s corner came to Diego Costa, who turned it in with a brilliant finish. The only problem? It was his own net. So, Barcelona took the lead thanks to a one-goal lead.

Atlético had a chance to retaliate in the 15th minute when Carrasco waltzed past Piqué, and was subsequently brought down by Vidal. Costa stepped up to take it, but ter Stegen made the save.

There was more drama, however, as VAR found that ter Stegen had left his line too soon. The penalty was retaken, as Saúl stepped up and converted it.

Messi had a chance tried to curl one to the far corner from the edge of the box in the 22nd minute. He beat Oblak, but only managed to tickle the outside of the post.

Puig won a free-kick 27m away from goal in the 41st minute. Messi struck it and got a slight deflection from the wall, but Oblak made a brilliant save.

3 minutes on the other side of half-time, Barcelona had a penalty when Felipe slightly brushed Semedo’s left boot, and the full-back made a meal of it. Messi opted to go for the Panenka, and got his 700th goal.

Atlético had a massive chance in the 58th minute to equalise when Arias’ cross found the head of Costa, but the ex-Chelsea striker turned it wide.

They won a penalty only 3 minutes later when Semedo brought Carrasco down with the slightest of touches. Saúl took it once again, and although ter Stegen got two hands to it, he couldn’t keep it out.

Barcelona had a great chance to go back ahead in the 71st minute. Semedo’s cutback found Vidal at the edge of the box, but the Chilean failed to hit the target.

Vidal had another great chance in the 75th minute when Alba’s cross found his head, but he missed the target yet again.

Although the game remained open for the remaining quarter-hour, it ended 2-2.


Barcelona weren’t fielding their usual 4-3-3, but instead opted for something like a 4-3-1-2. In truth though, only Suárez was leading the line, as Messi was allowed to roam. They pressed high as well, and forced Atlético into quite a few mistakes in their defensive third.

Atléti were obviously set up to be extremely compact defensively. They saw very little of the ball, and tried to use it by sending balls up the pitch for counter-attacks.



Marc-André ter Stegen – Didn’t have too much to do, and can’t really be blamed for the goals. But, he should have been more careful for Costa’s penalty, and arguably could have saved the second after guessing right. 5.25

Nélson Semedo – A really mixed performance from him. He went far forward and created a few chances, but was rather wasteful at times. His defending was not good though, as he was nowhere near Carrasco. In the end, he won one penalty, and conceded another. 5.75

Gerard Piqué – Made a few clearances at the back, but didn’t do too much. 6

Clément Lenglet – Looked solid at the back, and was very calm on the ball too. 6.75

Jordi Alba – Didn’t manage to get forward, but was very effective in keeping Llorente in check. 6.25

Ivan Rakitić – Almost played as a third centre-back, where he was decent. 6

Sergio Busquets – Not bad in holding midfield, as he strung his side’s attacks together. 6.5

Arturo Vidal – Interesting performance from him. Although he worked hard, he lacked the usual firepower. Made so many fouls that you’d think he was playing Rugby, and he conceded the first penalty too. Missed quite a few chances as well. 4.5

Riqui Puig – Easily the best of Barcelona’s midfielders. He looked effortless on the ball, and didn’t make any loose touches. His decision-making and distribution was good too. 7.25

Lionel Messi – Did well to cause the opener and then get his 700th from the spot, but he was rather loose on the ball at times. 7

Luis Suárez – Not a great showing from the Uruguayan. He had little to work with, but his touches were generally poor, and he didn’t manage to get into threatening positions. 4


Sergi Roberto – Zero impact off the bench. 4.25

Team – Barcelona looked sub-par once again. Although they were able to get an opener early on, they lacked sharpness in the attacking third. Some poor defending and challenges saw them concede two penalties, and although it was 2-2 in the 62nd minute, they simply refused to try to attack. Setién will certainly be questioned for his reluctance to make substitutions, but his players were not too impressive either. 6

Atlético Madrid

Jan Oblak – Made a few good saves, and can’t be blamed for conceding. 6.25

Santiago Arias – Didn’t do too much at the back, but he was decent. Put in a threatening cross or two, but wasn’t able to get far forward either. 6

José Giménez – Didn’t defend a lot, but he made a few clearances. 5.75

Felipe – Not a great day for him. He wasn’t able to do much at the back, didn’t look good on the ball and conceded a penalty on top of that. 4.25

Renan Lodi – Looked good at the back, as he defended well. Helped his attackers too, but was rather loose on the ball at times. 5.75

Ángel Correa – Failed to have a real impact in midfield. 4.75

Thomas Partey – Battled hard in midfield, as he made a lot of challenges to keep Barcelona away from his goal. 6.75

Saúl Ñíguez – Absolutely brilliant in the middle of the park, where he made 12 ball retrievals. Scored both the penalties too. 8.75

Yannick Carrasco – Great performance from the Belgian. He helped out at the back, and was his side’s most potent attacking threat. Won both the penalties with his probing runs. 8.5

Marcos Llorente – Had a couple of chances up front, but failed to do too much. 5

Diego Costa – Not a great day for him. Though he worked hard, he scored an goal, missed a penalty (although it was retaken by Saúl) and spurned a couple of great chances. 4.5


João Félix – Created one or two chances, but failed to do too much. 5

Team – Atlético were defensively organised once again, and even though they went behind twice, they pegged Barcelona back both times, showing great resilience in the process. They kept Barcelona away from their goal for most of the match, and earned a deserved draw. 6.5


Alejandro Hernández Hernández had a very interesting match, but his calls were consistent. 7.5

What This Means:

Barcelona remain in second place, and close the gap to Real Madrid to one point for now, but Los Blancos have a game in hand.

Atlético also hold position in third spot, and have a 2-point lead over Sevilla.

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