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La Liga

  • 19 September 2010
  • • 22:30
  • • Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
  • Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
  • • Attendance: 54000

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Barcelona: Lionel Messi Injury Mars Proficient Blaugrana Victory

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Barcelona: Lionel Messi Injury Mars Proficient Blaugrana Victory

Pep Guardiola's side triumphed but may have lost their superstar to an ankle blow...

Barcelona recorded their first league win at the Vicente Calderon for four seasons as they overcame a physical Atletico Madrid side 2-1 in the capital, however Lionel Messi's late injury takes the shine from what was an efficent victory.

The Blaugrana took the lead early on thanks to a neat finish from Lionel Messi, but Raul Garcia headed the home side back into the match before the half hour mark. However, defender Gerard Pique had the last word, showing the skill of a striker to volley the winner and get the Catalan giants' campaign back on track.

Despite the recent hype surrounding Atletico’s title-challenge aspirations, it was the visitors that flew out of the blocks, barely allowing the home side a touch of the ball. After David Villa struck a post, the opening goal was imminent, and it arrived thanks to the incomparable Lionel Messi.

Pedro slipped a beautiful through pass to the diminutive Argentine, who flawlessly flicked the ball past David de Gea and into the corner.

However, regardless of barely registering an attack of note, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side notched an equaliser, when Raul Garcia outjumped the flailing fist of Victor Valdes and powered his header into the net. The usually assured ‘keeper had gifted the hosts a route back into the match, one that they barely deserved.

Barcelona did not need to wait long to regain their advantage, though, and it was defender Gerard Pique who showed supreme composure to control a Xavi corner on his chest, compose himself, and drill his volley low into the net. On the balance of the half, the Camp Nou club had the lead that their play merited.

The action was breathless, incessant, and half time did not quell Pep Guardiola’s sides’ attacking philosophy. De Gea was called into action three times within the opening five minutes, with Xavi, and Pedro twice denied by the brilliance of the exceptional young shot-stopper.

Soon after Sergio Aguero, who had been a huge fitness doubt beforehand, limped off to have his leg encased in ice, and from that moment on Barcelona looked in control.

Villa blazed over from close range, then stung the fingers of De Gea once again, before attempting to go round him and the goalkeeper winning their personal duel once again. The 19-year-old enjoyed a fantastic evening, and continued to keep his side within touching distance of the champions.

Indeed, El Guaje was replaced by Seydou Keita as Guardiola looked to see out the match, but los Colchoneros enjoyed an intense spell of pressure as the match drew to close, with the boisterous home support driving the players forward.

However their ascendency had came too late, and Tomas Ujfalusi's late red card for a frustrated, poorly-timed lunge on Messi bookended a poor night for the Europa League champions. One of the stars of the show left proceedings on a stretcher and in tears, and it looked ominous for the world's best player as his ankle immediately ballooned.

Atletico Madrid's title challenge may be re-evaluated after this result, while Barcelona have proved that last week's loss to Hercules can be regarded an anomaly, as they return to winning ways.

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