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Ivan Rakitic's goal wasn't enough as Barça drew, 1–1, with Atlético Madrid on Wednesday night at Camp Nou.

In the first major clash of the season between two of La Liga’s top teams, FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid battled to a 1–1 draw on Wednesday night before 89,421 at Camp Nou.

FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic gave Barça the lead after 41 minutes of play — the first conceded by Atlético on the road this season across all competitions — but after Lionel Messi left with an injury, striker Ángel Correa levelled things up in the 60th as neither side was able to scoop up the three points and instead were forced to settle for one each.

By the quarter hour mark, Atlético, clad in jet-black uniforms, retreated into their classic chess board defence — a well-organized unit that, at times, closely resembled an array of ten Staunton pieces evenly staggered among three parallel lines deep in their own third.

The Catalans exercised patience, coolly circulating the ball in search of an opening. Time and again, though, they were met with resistance.

Barça took a 1–0 lead just four minutes from halftime when Rakitic sneaked his way into the Atlético penalty area where he nodded in past the flat-footed Jan Oblak.

The breakthrough goal arrived right on the heels of several minutes of sustained attacking and a corner kick that Neymar used to find Andrés Iniesta. Out on the wing, Iniesta calmly dispatched a defender before picking out Rakitic, who was streaking in towards the six-yard box to head past Oblak.

In the 55th minute, Messi — whose 21 career goals against Los Rojiblancos have made them his favorite target — appeared to stretch just a bit too far in an attempt to recover a ball in the Atlético half. Three minutes later he sat down on the turf and was replaced by Arda Turan

After the game, Messi was diagnosed with a groin tear that is expected to keep him out of action for three weeks. Further tests will be conducted on Thursday.

Atlético manager Diego Simeone countered by bringing on strikers Fernando Torres and Ángel Correa to provide a boost to their punchless attack.

When play resumed in the 60th minute Simeone’s new additions took advantage of back-to-back defensive miscues by Barça to draw Atlético level at 1–1. Torres slipped a pass through Gerard Piqué’s legs to Correa. Javier Mascherano stepped up to stop Correa, but slipped, leaving Correa with a clear look from the edge of the area that he clanged in off the inside of the post.

Simeone remains winless in ten La Liga games against Barça since becoming Atlético’s head coach in the 2010/11 season. As a team, Los Colchoneros have now gone an 11th straight season without winning at Camp Nou in the league.

The stalemate leaves Barça in third place in the La Liga standings, three points behind leaders Real Madrid, who drew earlier in evening — also 1–1 — against Villarreal. Atlético are fourth in the pecking order, one point behind Barça.

Barça are back in action this Saturday, when they head to Gijón, Spain, where they’ll take on Sporting in Week 6 of La Liga. Kickoff is set for 4.15pm CET,


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