With their 1-0 victory against Atletico Madrid on Sunday at Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona took another step towards winning their first LaLiga championship since 2019. With eight games remaining, Barca reestablished its 11-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the standings thanks to a goal from Ferran Torres in the first half.
In the second half, Robert Lewandowski, Gavi, and Raphinha all missed opportunities to increase Barca’s advantage, but their errors did not come back to harm them.
The visitors’ 13-game undefeated record came to an end after Antoine Griezmann previously struck the crossbar for Atletico and was twice denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Quick response 1. Barca end title trepidations
While Barca had seemed to be on track for the championship since beating Real Madrid in March, back-to-back scoreless draws with Girona and Getafe had given the team some anxiety going into the game against Atletico, who has risen to third in the standings after an outstanding run since losing to Barca in January. After Madrid’s win against Celta Vigo on Saturday, the difference between the top two teams was momentarily reduced to eight points.
However, Sunday’s victory could prevent Xavi Hernandez’s team from faltering in the season’s closing stages. They were able to secure three points and put an end to a stretch of three games without a victory in any tournament thanks to Ferran’s well-taken goal towards the conclusion of the first half.
Frenkie de Jong returned after a month away and played 77 minutes. Pedri also played in the second half, which was fantastic news for Barca. Also, he seemed sharp.
- Increased Still lacking in the last third is Barca
In recent weeks, Barca has struggled to find a competitive edge on the pitch, and Atletico was no exception. Their goal in the first half was their first since Ferran’s goal against Elche on April 1 and it halted a streak of over 350 minutes without a goal in all competitions. Xavi, though, will be concerned that they didn’t increase that total.
They had far too many opportunities. Raphinha set up Gavi for a nice shot, which he missed. Later, following Lewandowski’s cross, Raphinha lost a chance inside the six-yard box. The Polish attacker then sent his shot wide with the goal gaping, failing to beat the stranded Jan Oblak. For a tap in, he might have squared to Raphinha.
- Griezmann can’t stop Atletico’s winning streak.
Griezmann was the centre of attention when he arrived to Camp Nou, where he played for two seasons. The centrepiece of this Atletico team and one of Spain’s most in-form players, the Frenchman did not dissapoint. He made a wonderfully looping attempt inside the first 40 seconds and struck the bar, laying the stage for further strong efforts.
Later, old teammate Ter Stegen denied him, going low to his right to block what seemed to be a goal. When the Atletico striker cleverly flicked an Alvaro Morata cross goalward in the second half, the German again denied Griezmann.
Atletico lost this time, ending their undefeated record at 13 games, despite Griezmann’s brilliance (11 league goals this season). In January against Barca, they suffered their most recent league defeat. At the moment, their participation in the Champions League the next year was uncertain. Given their current situation, it would take a miracle for them to finish higher than third.
Exceptional and subpar performances
Atletico Madrid’s right flank was often troubled by Raphinha, FW, Barcelona, who also assisted in setting up Barca’s goal. A miss at point-blank range in the second half was the only negative.
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann had a chance to score a hat-trick, but Ter Stegen and the woodwork stopped him.
Barcelona-based MF Frenkie de Jong: On his first gameback after a month off, the Dutchman was outstanding in the middle of the field.
Axel Witsel, MF, Atletico Madrid: At the base of the midfield, he seemed to be lagging behind and was removed early in the second half.
Andreas Christensen was injured, therefore Marcos Alonso, DF, of Barcelona, filled in, although he struggled. was pulled off by Xavi after the interval after getting himself a booking for a terrible pass he made.
Atletico Madrid’s Jose Maria Gimenez, DF, was fortunate to escape at least a caution for a harsh tackle on Raphinha despite being nowhere near Ferran for the goal.