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Barça’s first ever visit to the Wanda Metropolitano was a gripping, intense game of football that could be viewed more a case of a point gained than two points lost. Atlético drew first blood and looked to de defending their way to a 1-0 win, but Luis Suárez stepped up when called upon and secured a thoroughly well-deserved draw.
Atlético take the lead
The game got off to an electric pace, with Leo Messi almost scoring in the first move of the game and Antoine Griezmann bringing out the best in Marc-Andre ter Stegen twice in quick succession. However, Barça tamed early the pressure and on the basis of long periods of possession soon seemed have got the game going in the direction they wanted.
But the Atlético counter-attack was always a worry, and indeed that’s where things turned sour. A 21st minute Saul Niguez strike from the edge of the area found the bottom corner and the home fans were able to celebrate the first goal of the night.
Unstirred, Barça didn’t shift out of their patient waiting game, and continued to dominate the territorial battle. But other than a chance for Suárez, they were lacking bite in the final third for the first 45 minutes.
However, the most dangerous player, who else but Messi, did not look entirely unjustified in appealing for a penalty.
With Jan Oblak and the woodwork preventing Suárez and Messi from getting Barça back on level terms, Atlético were doing what they do best – holding onto a narrow lead.
With almost all 22 players on show recently back from a gruelling week of international footballing travels, something of the sting did slip out of an encounter that began to resemble a turn-based strategy game.
Barça needed to pull something out of the bag and they did just that when Sergi Roberto whipped in a cross and Suárez was quicker than the Atlético defence to get his head to the ball and the ball in the net.
No longer a goal to the good, the home side upped the ante and either side could have clinched a famous win in the final ten minutes.
Time was running out, but a last-second free kick sent an ominous hush around the stadium. Messi teed up. Could he cap a magnificent week for Argentina with a bit of the same magic for his club?
He couldn’t. Oblak flung his hands around the ball and the referee blew time. The Wanda Metropolitano could breathe again. The spoils had been shared and Barça’s 100 per cent record had been broken.
But the Catalans are still sitting pretty at the top of the table.
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