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Barça have tumbled to a 1-0 defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano and while a win could have sent them up to fifth in the table, this result leaves them even further adrift from the top places in La Liga.
It was a tight game in which both sides had chances, ultimately decided by a freak goal on the stroke of the half-time whistle.
Cruel first half
Antoine Griezmann almost scored against his former club … Ter Stegen did brilliantly to keep out Saúl Ñíguez’s blast … Marcos Llorente rattled one onto the crossbar .. The game was barely ten minutes old and it looked like we had a classic on our hands.
But although none of the intensity was lost, the chances dried up as the game progressed. Atlético, the only unbeaten side in the league and who had only conceded two goals all season, were as tight as ever at the back. Much as Barça had the better of the midfield, turning that into real danger was not proving easy.
With Barça on top in football if not in goals, the referee was preparing to blow for half-time when Atlético went ahead in extraordinary fashion. Ter Stegen came rushing out well of his area to challenge Yannick Carrasco for a loose ball. But the Belgian won the possession and also some space, and albeit from a tremendous distance was able to score into an empty net.
Clement Lenglet had two chances to set things straight after the restart, both headers and neither quite enough to beat Jan Oblak.
And then there was further woe for Barça. Gerard Piqué clashed with Ángel Correa, and the latter landed on the former’s knee. Piqué went off and we’ll have to wait for the full medical verdict, and keep our fingers crossed that it wasn't as bad as it looks. There was further concern when Sergi Roberto went off clutching his thigh in the final minutes of the game.
Atlético looked to have settled into their lead, but Barça were going to lie down quite so easily. The game looked closer to a Barça equaliser than any further score for the home team, but as is always the case when Barça are trailing, the clock felt like it was ticking twice as fast.
Sergi Roberto had the best chance. His long range drive looked have gone in, but caught a defender on the way and went just wide. That was the 89th minute. Time was running out. And it did.
And so an extraordinary run of 20 consecutive league games against Atlético Madrid without defeat came to an end, a run that includes the whole Diego Simeone era dating back to 2013. Today, sadly for Barça, was finally Atlético's day.
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