Atletico Madrid 0-1 Barcelona: Ousmane Dembele’s first-half strike sees Catalans climb to the TOP of LaLiga with vital win… with Ferran Torres and Stefan Savic sent off after stoppage-time scuffle
- Ousmane Dembele scored as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in LaLiga clash
- Atletico Madrid have struggled this season and looked below par once more
- The French winger scored in the first-half and his side did well to hold on to win
- Stefan Savic and Ferran Torres were both shown red cards in the dying minutes
Barcelona went three points clear at the top of La Liga as Atletico Madrid blew their chance of entering the title race. Diego Simeone’s side are already out of Europe and now they are 14 points off the lead.
Ousmane Dembele got the only goal of the game on 22 minutes after Pedri and Gavi had combined on the edge of the Atletico penalty area. The home side complained about a nudge from Gavi on Reinildo Mandava but the goal stood and Barcelona defended the lead well despite ferocious Atletico pressure.
Atletico had their best chances at the end of both halves and each time the opportunity fell to Antoine Griezmann.
Ousmane Dembele’s first-half strike proved vital as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 1-0
The Frenchman was up against his former club and he had the chance to level just before the break but Jan Oblak made the save. In added time at the end of the game there was another opportunity to snatch a late leveler but Ronald Araujo flicked the ball off the line. He celebrated the goal-line block as if it had been the match winner and it was.
Araujo sank to his knees at the end of the game with Barcelona taking full advantage of Real Madrid losing to Villarreal on Saturday. They now travel to Saudi Arabia where they play Betis in the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday. Twenty-four hours before, Real Madrid face Valencia in the other semi-final.
Back in October when Carlo Ancelotti’s side won the Clasico it seemed Madrid were in control but Barcelona’s form was spectacular before the winter break as they won five out of five. After dropping two points in the Catalan derby they were back to their best to scrap for victory against a team no longer a direct rival.
Antoine Griezmann missed a good chance to level the score against his former club
Ferran Torres scrapped his way to a straight red card late on too. He got tangled with Stefan Savic and the defender was also sent off. With ten men on both sides there was more space on the pitch but Barcelona defended to the death and were deserved winners.
The result leave Simeone’s Atletico with only Champions League qualification for next season to play for. Atletico had 19 shots in the game but with Marc Andre ter Stegen keeping out shots from Marcos Llorente and Joao Felix there was no way through.
‘It’s not just three points, ‘ said Xavi Hernandez. ‘This is a huge morale boost. Without playing brilliantly we were able to suffer and come away with all three points.’
Simeone said: ‘The first 20 minutes we couldn’t got into our stride and it wasn’t until they scored that we started to play as we wanted.’
‘We were able to suffer and come away with all three points’: Xavi was delighted with the win
LINEUPS AND MATCH FACTS
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Oblak; Molina, Savic, Gimenez, Mandava (Reguilon 81); Llorente, Koke (Lemar 73), Barrios (Kondogbia 64), Carrasco (Morata 64); Felix (Correa 73), Griezmann
Bookings: Correa, Molina
Red Card: Savic
Manager: Diego Simeone
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde (Alonso 81); De Jong (Kessie 58), Busquets (Roberto 81), Gavi (Raphinha 73); Dembele, Fati (Torres 57), Pedri
Goals: Dembele 22
Bookings: Araujo, Christensen, Raphinha
Red Card: Torres