- Copy link
FC Barcelona have produced a brilliant display on Sunday afternoon to defeat Atlético Madrid 4-2 and in doing so move ahead of the mattress-makers and claim the all-important fourth place in the Liga table.
It was a game of football that had a bit of everything, with the visitors taking an early lead but the Catalans quickly regrouping to produce a first half display to remember. A stunner from Jordi Alba, a header from Gavi and a third from Ronald Araujo just before the break, with a fourth from Dani Alves shortly after the restart meant Barça could celebrate three crucial points.
But it wasn’t just the points. It was the way they happened. There have been some low moments in the 2021/22 season, but this was not one of them. Xavi has been vowing to put Barça back where they deserve to be, and judging by today’s performance, he’s very much sticking to that promise.
Early setback, early comeback
The sight of Barça’s third highest goalscorer of all time, Luis Suárez, playing for the opposition was a strange one. It wasn’t his first return visit to Camp Nou but it was the first in front of the blaugrana fans. And the Uruguayan was involved in the day’s first goal. After just eight minutes his cross was coolly converted by Yannick Carrasco and Atlético had an early 1-0 lead.
Also marking their returns were Dani Alves, this being his first game in a stadium that hosted a fixture since December 18, and Adama Traoré, back at Barça from Wolves, and thoroughly impressing on his ‘second debut’.
That duo were both involved in the build-up to Barça’s response to Carrasco’s opener but the goal was all about Jordi Alba. The full back's volley connected perfectly with the ball and WHAT A FINISH! An absolute howitzer of a strike found the top right corner. His first goal of the season and surely the best one he’s ever scored for the club... And that was 1-1!
It was turning into a quite phenomenal game of football and Adama was everywhere. A brilliant move down the right and he flipped in the perfect cross for Gavi to head home and Barça were 2-1 and looking very good value for that lead.
That’s ten headed goals for Barça in this season’s Liga, more than any other team.
Alves makes it four!
There was very nearly another just before the break. On the day he matched Carlos Puyol to become the player with the fifth most Barça appearances, a fabulous Gerard Piqué header struck the crossbar.
Not to worry though. Ronald Araujo was smack on the rebound to bang in his third goal of the season and Barça’s third of the afternoon. 3-1 up at the break and Barça were showboating!
It continued after the break when a totally thrilled Dani Alves was the only man on the end of Gavi’s cross and confidently powered in goal number four – three of which had been scored by defenders! Total football. Total Barça. It was beautiful.
Twists in the tale
Atlético hadn’t given up. Luis Suárez headed in from a corner and respectfully put his hands together in apology to the fans he served for six memorable years.
Traoré was given a standing ovation as he left the field. A superb performance from the 26-year-old. And he was replaced by Barça’s other winter acquisition, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The first Gabonese player to ever appear for FC Barcelona.
But in a game oozing talking points, Barça were reduced to ten men for the last 20 minutes when Alves was red carded for a tackle from behind on Carrasco.
The script from there on was obvious. Atlético sensed a chance and Barça needed to up their concentration to make sure the red-and-whites didn’t take it.
But Atlético were unable to make the extra man count, and Barça could celebrate being the first team to score four against Atlético Madrid since December 2012. And that was Barça too!
- Copy link