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February 5, 2011
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez
• Attendance: 84766
That's it! 3-0 for Barcelona! Not the exciting, competitive fixture we expected, but we were treated to another dominant display by Lionel Messi. This man has to be considered head and shoulders above every other player in the world right now, and he continues to prove it to us! Atletico showed glimpses of the threat they can usually provide, but truth be told, it's been a poor season, and a poor game for them. Barcelona walk out 3-0 winners, and now hold a gap of 10 points in the league, at least until tomorrow night!
90' + 3'
Barcelona passing the ball around defence, just running down the clock now
90' + 2'
Afellay charges down the right wing with a great show of pace! He tries to centre the ball for Bojan, but can only find a defender! Good run, but the cross could have been better.
90' + 1'
3 minutes of added time to be played here.
Dani Alves and Tiago both on the floor struggling after they got tangled in midfield. Alves looks fine, but Tiago has had to leave the pitch for treatment.
Yellow Card Juan Valera
Corner taken, and Aguero goes close with a header on the far post! Valdes followed the path of the ball brilliantly, and catches the header! Great save!
Another threatening attack cut out by Pique! Tiago broke into the box from the right wing, and tried an effort from a tight angle, but Pique gets in the way and it goes for a corner.
Atletico looking threatening as Valera charged down the right wing and into the box, but his cross is cut out! Great attack, but it is met by a great defence!
Ibrahim Afellay and Bojan Krkic come onto the pitch to replace Xavi and Bojan. They are likely to simply slot into the spaces occupied by the players who have come off the pitch.
Barcelona try to attack again, as Keita plays a nice through ball to Messi, who tries to play the one-two with Xavi, but unusually Xavi's return pass doesn't find his target.
Messi really has dominated this game, and his hat-trick is no less than he deserves for his performance tonight. Barcelona haven't looked quite as sharp around the box as they often are, but Messi has taken matters into his own hands for the umpteenth time.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
GOAL! MESSI GETS THE HAT-TRICK!! He let Villa through with a great through ball. Villa put his effort straight at De Gea, but Messi made no mistake in putting the rebound in the net! 3-0 for Barcelona!
Pedro! He picks up the ball from a nice pass from Busquets, and tries to curl an effort from just outside the box into the net! He goes just wide, but it may give Barcelona some momentum to build on!
This game has lost a lot of steam after a vibrant start to the second half.
Barcelona applying pressure yet again, playing the ball around in front of Atletico's backline.
Hearing that Messi was booked earlier as the referee had not given the go-ahead to take the free-kick.
So close from Messi! A lovely cross from Maxwell on the left wing finds Messi's head, and he forces a great save from De Gea!
Barcelona have been told to re-take the kick. Still unsure what the issue was there. Messi takes it this time, and it goes straight to De Gea.
Yellow Card Messi
Xavi and Messi standing over the ball. Messi takes it, hits the crossbar and is booked in bizarre circumstances. Unsure of the issue there....
Yellow Card Tiago
Messi is brought down as he tries to run into the box! Free-kick from around 20 yards! That was a threatening looking run, and Tiago's decision to bring down Messi makes sense, albeit a little harsh. He took a real tumble, but gets up without any issues.
Another attack from Barcelona, as Xavi finds Alves on the right wing. Alves plays the one-two with Pedro before crossing straight into the hands of David De Gea! Barcelona still have the right idea, but their execution has suffered in the second half.
Barcelona on the attack now, as Xavi and Iniesta exchange passes in front of the defence. Iniesta lays off to Villa, who plays a wonderful back-heel pass to Pedro, but he's unable to reach it. Great play for Barcelona!
This game has become much more competitive and gripping in the second half, as Atletico have really jumped out of the gates! Barcelona appear to be taken by surprise, and all of a sudden, the play is very even! Barcelona need to start dominating this game again if they want to hang onto this two goal lead.
Aguero looking to attack now, cutting in from the right wing, but is well tackled by the Barcelona defence.
Barcelona have another chance cut out, as they play the ball around the box once more, but are again well pressured. Atletico look much better in this second half, in no small part due to Forlan, who in his advancing years remains something of a talisman for them.
Close for Atletico! Diego Forlan has an effort from inside the box, but it is blocked well by Pique! This is more like it from Atleti!
Slight paradox here, as Ujfalusi charges towards the Barcelona defence, and is tackled just outside the box by Lionel Messi!
Corner comes in for Barca and is given tamely to the defence, wasted set-piece.
Alves swings in a nice cross from the right wing, but it only finds Valera, who heads out for a corner.
Iniesta is taken down by Tiago, who can count himself lucky to avoid a booking.
Iniesta goes on a great run from deep, but his pass at the end is not what he was looking for, and finds only a defender.
Atletico kick us off for the second half!
And the referee calls time on the first half! Not quite the thriller we anticipated, but it's had glimpses of brilliance, mostly from the two little argentines, Messi and Aguero, both of whom are having a good night. Unfortunately only one of them is finding the support however, as Xavi and Iniesta are predictably bossing the midfield.
45' + 1'
Atletico put the freekick over everybody's heads, onto the opposite flank tamely. No threat for Barcelona.
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
Dani Alves is booked for a rash challenge on Aguero on Atletico's left wing! A deserved booking for the industrious Brazilian.
Almost 3-0, as Villa sends a curling effort wide! Good shot, but he needs to force a save from De Gea.
Aguero! He goes on a lovely run into the box, but he can't find a way past the defence! If Atletico are to produce anything, it will be through this man! He looks their only ray of light right now.
Atletico launching a rare attack down the right wing, passing well, but the final ball by Lopez finds only a defender. Dealt with well by Barcelona.
Lopez is back to his feet, and the game can continue with him.
Antonio Lopez looks to be struggling after a sliding challenge by Pedro. He took the ball, but he also hit Lopez pretty hard.
Another dangerous looking attack cut out by Atletico, as David Villa was on a menacing run inside the box, but the ball is stolen from his feet.
Villa trries to play a ball through, but he puts too much on it, and it goes to De Gea.
Free-kick taken by Ujfalusi, who puts it out to the left wing for Filipe Luis. His ball into the centre is blocked, and referee calls offside against Atletico.
Atletico win another free-kick as Aguero is brought down again in midfield. It probably was a foul, but Aguero certainly made the most of it!
Yellow Card Tomas Ujfalusi
GOAL! Messi gets his second! David Villa played a ball through, which was picked up by Ujfalusi, but his touch is poor and allows Messi to steal the ball and finish coolly!
Barcelona win a corner after a great save from David De Gea denies Dani Alves!
Free-kick is whipped into the box from range, but Barcelona cope easily.
Atletico Madrid win a freekick just inside Barcelona's half, after Abidal brought down Aguero.
The game still very much going Barca's way. This performance so far sums up the season for Atletico Madrid, who are not troubling Barcelona anywhere near enough, and are lucky to be just one goal behind.
Messi again through on goal after a wonderful ball through the middle of the defence, but he can't direct his shot goalwards! Just wide, and Atleti get away with it this time!
Atletico are looking surprisingly subdued so far, allowing Barcelona most of the possession, and almost inviting them to attack. That's a dangerous game to play with Barcelona's finishing prowess!
Villa has an effort from just outside the box, looking to curl it into the bottom corner, but he can't quite do it, and it goes just wide!
Assist Daniel Alves
GOAL! Lionel Messi! Fantastic dribble, cutting in from the right wing, and placing a wonderful shot into the bottom corner! Great goal from the little Argentine!
Messi has an effort from inside the box, but he puts it tamely wide. Poor shot by his high standards.
Barcelona pressuring the Atletico defence now, playing the ball around in front of the backline, waiting patiently for the perfect opportunity to split the line.
Most of this game is being played in midfield, not surprisingly given the nature of the two sides on display.
Close for Barcelona as they play a wonderful passing move around the box, but they are unable to find the finish! The Atletico defence did a good job of keeping them under pressure and denying a goal-scoring chance.
Atletico attempting to exploit the flanks, presumably looking to catch the two Brazilian full-backs off guard, but Busquets and the two centre-backs are sweeping to cover that area well.
Messi broke through nicely after a lovely pass through from Iniesta, but he's called offside. It was an extremely close call, and perhaps the linesman did the right thing by simply not allowing an early goal.
Both teams doing what we expected them to, attacking, but unable to produce anything of worth so far. Still early days.
Barcelona kick the game off!
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid! Should be a thrilling game today! Both sides like to attack, and these games are always full of goals. Atletico usually give Barcelona a good run for their money, but this Blaugrana side is in dynamic form of late, and the Rojiblancos will have to be at their very best to match up.
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