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Atlético Madrid v Barcelona Live Commentary, 24/11/2018

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Diego Costa (77)
O. Dembélé (90)
Estadio Wanda Metropolitano


That concludes our LaLiga commentary of the fixture between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona from Estadio Wanda Metropolitano! We hope you enjoyed the match!
Atletico Madrid are next in action this Wednesday when they host Monaco in the Champions League, before a LaLiga clash next Sunday against Girona. Barcelona will travel to the Netherlands to play PSV in their own European clash in midweek, before returning home to host Villarreal on December 2nd.
The game went as close to perfect as possible for Simeone - with the exception of the result. His side completely squeezed Barcelona out of the match - allowing the visitors only two shots on goal. The Blaugrana were frustrated and denied any space to play through all match until late heroics spoiled the home faithful's evening. Atletico looked as though they would emerge victorious after a 77th-minute Costa goal, but a host of attacking substitutions livened up the match late on. The changes from Valverde certainly helped, as it took Dembele only 10 minutes to score and equalise following an assist from Messi. Both sides should probably be happy with a point, though Atletico Madrid will be disappointed that they weren’t able to hold the lead. It ends 1-1, which keeps Barcelona in first place and brings Atletico into second ahead of play tomorrow.
Yellow Card
90' + 3' Rafinha is shown a late yellow card for a tackle in midfield, done to break up play.
90' + 2' The fourth official indicates four minutes at the end of the 90 for stoppages.
L. Messi
90' The ever-involved Messi ensures that his influence is felt, as his pass allowed Dembele the space with which to score. It’ll go down as the assist.
O. Dembélé
90' DEMBELE BRINGS BARCELONA LEVEL IN THE 90TH MINUTE! 1-1! Atletico Madrid were put under tremendous pressure, and it tells as Messi receives the ball just outside the penalty area before looking up and spreading play to Dembele on the right. Oblak comes out to the foot of the Barcelona winger, but Dembele’s patience pays off and he slots it easily into the goal!
88' Messi’s free-kick cannons off the defensive wall and goes out for a corner-kick on the right which is cleared immediately.
Filipe Luís
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
87' Filipe Luis is also shown a yellow card as he becomes the fourth Atletico Madrid player to be cautioned.
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
86' Rodrigo is shown a yellow card for a tactical foul just outside the penalty area, as he pulls Messi’s shirt and drags him to the floor to halt his run.
A. Vidal
85' Vidal’s match is done, as Malcom comes into the game with five minutes left. Can he get Barcelona back in the match?!
84' Griezmann opts for the shot, but blazes his effort high over the crossbar.
84' Correa is brought down outside the Barcelona penalty area as the match is becoming stretched. Griezmann stands over the set-piece which is close enough to have a shot, but angled enough for a cross.
83' Messi’s left-foot free-kick is taken to the top corner, but Oblak covers his angles beautifully and makes an easy catch, much to the excitement of Simeone on the touchline who is doing his best to get the crowd into the game.
82' Lucas brings Suarez down outside the penalty area as Messi approaches the 18-yard box, which forces the referee to award Barcelona a free-kick in a great position. The match official does not – however – choose to show the centre-back a second yellow card, which would send him off with just under 10 minutes left.
Á. Correa
Diego Costa
Atlético Madrid
80' Costa seemingly picked up a knock after the goal, and he is immediately removed for Correa who is a more willing runner.
O. Dembélé
80' Immediately after the goal, both sides make a change. Barcelona throw Dembele on for Arthur.
A. Griezmann
Atlético Madrid
77' It is only their first corner-kick of the match, but Griezmann makes Barcelona pay with a wonderful assist to the far post!
Diego Costa
Atlético Madrid
77' COSTA BREAKS THE DEADLOCK WITH HIS FIRST OF THE SEASON! It’s all gone to plan for Simeone, as his side edge in front with just under 15 minutes left in the match! It’s a simple goal that originates with Griezmann’s beautiful corner-kick taken to the back post. Costa gets to it first over Rafinha and directs his header past Ter Stegen and into the net! 1-0 to the home side!
75' Atletico Madrid send a free-kick into the penalty area via Griezmann towards Rodrigo, but Vidal is there to make the headed clearance. There is some controversy however as all the Atleti players rush the referee and protest that there was a handball in the clearance. After a VAR check, the referee confirms that Vidal’s defending was legal – and play should carry on.
73' Semedo gets into the penalty area but Lucas takes the ball off of his toes and clears it. The Barcelona right-back does not pull up, however, instead choosing to run right through the Atletico centre-back, causing the home faithful to shower the pitch with boos. The referee awards a free-kick, but nothing more.
S. Umtiti
Yellow Card
71' Umtiti is not without blame in the eyes of match official Jesus Gil Manzano, and the centre-back is also shown a yellow card for his part in the fracas.
Diego Costa
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
71' Costa is finally shown a yellow card – and it’s a wonder it hasn’t happened sooner. A bit of a scuffle breaks out between the two sets of players, with Umtiti and Costa the primary suspects. They’ve been going at it all match, and the forward finally gets shown a caution.
70' Griezmann tugs Vidal down just outside his penalty area as Atletico Madrid push high up the pitch to try and force a turnover. The forward has to be careful however, as he was already cautioned earlier in the match.
69' Messi’s corner is taken dangerously into the six-yard box where Oblak meets it with a convincing punch under considerable pressure. The ball comes to the other side of the penalty area for Suarez, who is unable to do anything with it as it dribbles out for a goal-kick.
68' Messi somehow ducks underneath the challenge of Koke and keeps the attack going, spreading play to his right before the chipped pass to the far post is headed out for a corner by the Atletico Madrid captain.
66' Messi takes a flat corner-kick with considerable pace, and it takes a touch off an Atleti player as it exits the field of play on the other side. Yet another opportunity goes begging in a match that has had zero shots on target after 66 minutes played.
T. Lemar
Atlético Madrid
64' Simeone calls upon Vitolo as he makes his first change of the match. Lemar is the player withdrawn with just under 30 minutes to play.
63' Barcelona are having most of the possession, essentially holding play just outside the Atletico penalty area, but they seem slightly at a loss as to what to do from there. The home side, even after an hour played are camping at least nine men behind the ball at all times, ensuring defensive solidity first.
61' OUT OF NOWHERE GRIEZMANN ALMOST CREATES A GOAL! The striker turns on the speed burst as he wheels away from Alba and gets into the penalty area before cutting it across the face of goal for Costa. The Spain international goes sliding in to tap it home, but Umtiti puts just enough pressure on to keep the ball from passing Ter Stegen, and Barcelona can hook it clear!
59' Rafinha is hobbling after an earlier challenge which should worry Valverde, as the midfielder himself only came on as a half-time substitute for the previously hurt Roberto. A second substitution due to injury in the same position will surely hurt the manager’s tactical options later in the match.
57' Suarez pushes the ball ahead of him into the penalty area as he looks to get around Lucas, but the defender is able to put it away for a corner-kick at the last moment once again! Messi’s cross is taken into the penalty area but unfortunately, it doesn’t beat the first man, and the ball is cleared all the way to Barcelona’s goal.
55' Vidal is on the ground once again but Filipe Luis is having none of it, despite replays suggesting that the full-back made contact with the Barcelona player’s calf using his studs. Atletico Madrid are making it a very physical game on the pitch which should give way to more bookings.
54' Costa is once again in the middle of the controversy as he’s in the middle of a physical duel with Umtiti, and the two lash out at each other with their legs while on the ground. It’s a Barcelona free-kick in their own half, which they take short to get the ball rolling again.
50' Barcelona win yet another free-kick in midfield after Arthur is brought down by Koke. There is so little space for the Blaugrana to play in, which fits Simeone’s taste perfectly. It will require a great deal of creativity from Messi and his team-mates to break down this low defensive block.
A. Griezmann
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
48' Griezmann takes a heavy first touch in the centre-circle and lunges into Vidal in an attempt to win the ball back, but his momentum carries him through his counterpart. It’s a yellow card for the France international – three minutes after the restart.
47' Messi’s one-two pass with Suarez gets the captain free in the penalty area, though his chipped ball to the far post is headed away by Filipe Luis. Alba looks to put the ball back in the box but he is fouled on the left flank by Costa – giving Barcelona a free-kick.
46' The home side get the second half underway from the kick-off!
Sergi Roberto
46' Confirmation of the change at half-time, as Roberto is removed for Rafinha.
Barcelona’s fluid passing style is always in stark contrast to Atletico Madrid’s doggedness, though they’ve truly cancelled each other out in the opening period of play. Messi has looked to be creative, but his connection with Alba has not been humming as usual. Suarez has been completely taken out of the match despite Arthur’s best efforts as the congested Atleti penalty area does not afford much space to attack. With the second half to come, the result hangs in the balance!
It’s been quite the tactical affair at the Wanda Metropolitano as neither side have been able to muster a shot on goal. Both goalkeepers have been thoroughly unchallenged as most of the play has come through the middle of the park. Atletico Madrid have set up in their typical style, looking to stifle the opposition and work hard off the ball. Simeone’s side have only seen roughly 30% possession in the first half, but have looked equally as dangerous as the visitors.
45' + 2' Roberto has already headed down the tunnel for further inspection, though Valverde opts to not make a substitution. Barcelona will see the half out with 10 men, and re-evaluate during the break.
45' + 1' The referee indicates an additional two minutes for stoppages at the end of the half.
45' Sergi Roberto has dropped to the turf as he grabs his hamstring after a challenge with Koke who unintentionally used his knee to catch the Barcelona midfielder in the back of the leg. He is receiving treatment on the pitch, though it’s unsure if a substitution will be made before the half.
44' Busquets is brought down in midfield by Koke who is looking to break up the tempo as we approach the end of the first half.
43' ALMOST AN OWN GOAL! A cross comes in from Griezmann on the right and Pique sticks out a leg, making contact with the ball and almost sending it looping over the head of Ter Stegen! The sure-handed goalkeeper saves the centre-back’s blushes however and makes the stop.
41' Messi uses his left foot to sweep a curler towards Oblak’s goal, but the keeper doesn’t have to move as the effort rises disappointingly high of the goal. That sums up the first half quite well.
L. Hernández
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
39' Lucas is shown the first yellow card of the game for Atletico Madrid, after leaping into Messi with a raised leg after a poor Oblak clearance. Could this free-kick just outside the penalty area lead to the match’s first goal?
38' Suarez gets into the penalty area and looks to turn Savic, but the striker runs out of room and instead opts to win a corner which is once again taken short.
36' Atlético Madrid are winless in their last 16 LaLiga meetings with Barcelona (D4 L12), their second-longest winless run against a single opponent in the top-flight (23, against Real Madrid between 2000 and 2013).
34' Rodrigo looks to play Lemar through the Barcelona defence with a similar pass to Messi’s for Alba just moments prior, but this time it’s the Blaugrana right-back who steps in to take control of the situation, as Semedo muscles his man off the ball and allows it to go out for a goal-kick.
33' Alba passes it to Messi and immediately makes a move into the penalty area looking for the return pass, but Arias gets in the way to make a crucial, and potentially goal-saving interception.
31' Koke leaves it for Griezmann, who looks to bend his free-kick around the first man and into the path for Rodrigo. A collision while the ball was in the air ends play, as the referee awards Barcelona a free-kick and a chance to clear their lines.
Sergio Busquets
Yellow Card
29' The first yellow card of the match goes to Busquets who catches Lucas with a sliding challenge. This gives Atletico a free-kick on the left, in a great position for a cross.
27' Filipe Luis drives forward but is completely devoid of options on the left. Despite his isolation, he somehow manages to fashion a pass for Lemar who wins a throw-in near the penalty area.
25' Koke sprays a pass forward for Arias after a good spell of Atletico possession, but the ball is hit with too much power for the right-back who can only watch it go out for a throw deep in Barcelona’s half.
23' Barcelona win a free-kick after Roberto is pushed off the ball on the right wing. Messi stands over it and goes for goal despite being quite far out. Oblak covers his crossbar just in case, but it flies harmlessly over.
21' It’s another short-corner routine between Messi and Roberto, this time involving Arthur, with the Brazil international playing an incisive pass into the box to meet the run of Roberto – whose shot loops up to be caught easily by Oblak.
19' Messi takes a corner short to Roberto before having it returned to cross from a better angle. The delivery swings into the six-yard box where its cleared for another set-piece.
17' Griezmann flies down the right flank, keeping the ball in the face of challenges from both Arthur and Semedo before spreading play to the left in front of the penalty area for Lemar. The winger has a strike at goal, but a defender is there to cover and make a crucial block.
16' Costa is unhappy as he gives away a free-kick on the left-hand side after taking down Semedo. Simeone’s side are masters at the tactical foul, and that challenge from the forward could have been just to give his side a moment to reorganise.
14' Semedo looks to get in behind on the right flank, but Filipe Luis does well to stick out a leg and once again disrupt Barcelona’s forward thrust.
12' The visitors have certainly started more positive – as was to be expected. Atletico are a well-drilled side though, pressing the man in possession constantly, forcing the play all the way back to the goalkeeper before it is once again sent forward.
10' Barcelona are threatening with possession around the opposition penalty area, but Atletico are constantly able to get it away at the last possible second. Messi’s return pass for Arthur is intercepted before Roberto is dispossessed on the right flank before he can find a team-mate. It’s risky business from the home side at the minute who are under pressure.
8' The free-kick is driven into the penalty area where it takes a slight deflection, but it does not trouble the goalkeeper who keeps his hands on it to make the save.
7' Griezmann plays a pass to the left for Filipe Luis to cross, but his first-time cross is miscued and scuffed into the first man. The rebound comes back out to the left flank where Griezmann is fouled, giving the home side a free-kick.
5' Alba looks to get around Arias on the left, but he loses the physical duel and gets thrown to the ground – though the referee deems the challenge to be fair. Barcelona regain possession but will have to restart from inside their own half.
3' Costa wins an early free-kick after a misplaced pass in midfield from Semedo turned possession over. No doubt Atletico will do their best to draw fouls and win set-pieces, as they have done early.
1' Barcelona get the match underway from the kick-off!
Valverde makes three changes of his own to the XI that lost 4-3 to Real Betis at home 13 days ago. In defence, Umtiti returns for Lenglet, while a red card to Ivan Rakitic sees Semedo play at right-back, pushing Roberto further up the pitch. The final change is also in midfield, where Vidal is called upon instead of Malcom.
Simeone makes four changes from the side that beat Athletic Bilbao 3-2 before the international break. Lucas and Savic are declared fit and replace Diego Godin and Francisco Montero at centre-back, while recently healthy Lemar and Koke return to feature instead of Correa and Thomas.
BARCELONA SUBS: Clement Lenglet, Carles Alena, Munir El Haddadi, Rafinha, Jasper Cillessen, Malcom, Ousmane Dembele.
BARCELONA (4-4-2): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba; Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Arthur, Arturo Vidal; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez.
ATLETICO MADRID SUBS: Gelson Martins, Thomas Partey, Vitolo, Antonio Adan, Toni Moya, Nikola Kalinic, Angel Correa.
ATLETICO MADRID (4-4-2): Jan Oblak; Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez, Stefan Savic, Santiago Arias; Thomas Lemar, Rodrigo, Saul Niguez, Koke; Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, the team news has been confirmed! Let's start with the home side!
Barcelona enter the Wanda Metropolitano undefeated in their last six matches against Atletico Madrid, though their three wins in that time were all decided by a goal. Atleti’s defensive reshuffling may provide the Blaugrana with a host of chances, which should serve them well. The winner of this fixture is top of the table heading into tomorrow’s fixtures, which should put some urgency on a definitive result.
It hasn’t been a classic season by any means, but Barcelona prove time and time again that they do not have to be playing their best to get results when it matters. The international break perhaps came at a good time for Ernesto Valverde, as his side were picked apart in a 4-3 loss to Real Betis on November 11.
With 23 points, Atletico occupy third place - a win above their city rivals Real Madrid and just a point behind today’s league-leading opponents: Barcelona. Undefeated in their last nine matches, the issue has been turning draws into victories for Atletico. Despite having both Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa, they are finding it difficult to score, with their 16 goals lowest of the top-six clubs.
Atletico Madrid against Barcelona is always a hotly anticipated fixture, and this year there is the added importance of a battle for first place after 13 matches! The timing is surely not to the liking of Diego Simeone who is in the midst of an injury crisis; with essentially his entire defence either receiving treatment or only recently fit. It’ll be interesting to see how the crafty manager deals with knocks to many of his first-team players.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the LaLiga fixture between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona from Estadio Wanda Metropolitano!