Barcelona v Atlético Madrid: La Liga – live!
08-May-2021 15:15:08 | The Guardian
Peep! It’s scoreless at the break but both teams will adjourn to their dressing-rooms ruing missed chances. Leo Messi created and missed the pick of them, denied by an excellent Jan Oblak save. BUt it was Atletico who dominated, with Yannick Carrasco, Felipe, Angel Correa and Marcos Llorente all going close.
45+1 min: There’ll be four minutes of added time, following the injuries to Thomas Lemar and Sergio Busquets, both of whom had to go off.
45 min: From the corner, the ball falls for Felipe, who shoots over the bar from distance.
43 min: Now Carrasco cuts through the Barcelona defence like a hot knife through butter before unleashing a shot. Pique makes a crucial block.
41 min: Oof! Leo Messi cuts inside from the right touchline, the ball glued to his feet. He scuttles past one ... two ... three ... four ... five defenders before unleashing a shot from the edge of the penalty area. His effort whistles inches past the upright after Jan Oblak dives to his left to get a fingertip on it. Nothing comes of the corner.
40 min: The deadlock remains unbroken in a game that could go either way. Barcelona are dominating possession but Atletico have had the pick of the chances so far.
37 min: Ter Stegen is forced into action again, getting down at his near post to block a low Correa drive from the left. The ball bounces up in the air and ter Stegen gets to his feet quickly to swat it away from the head of the incoming Luis Suarez.
He cuffs Suarez’s head with the follow through of his hand and the Urugayan goes to ground as if he’s just been shot. He wants a penalty but has to settle for a corner from which nothing comes.
34 min: Saul Niguez gets booked for pulling Messi back after the Barcelona skipper had given him the slip down the right wing.
33 min: Atletico burst forward, with Carasco pulling the ball back to Marcos Llorente in the Barcelona penalty area. His shot on the run is fairly feeble but still needs saving by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
31 min: Barcelona susbtitution: Sergio Busquets off, Ilaix Moriba on. The substitute takes up the position perviously occupied by Frenkie de Jong, who moves back to the Busquets holding role.
30 min: The ref clears Busquets to come back on after having a quick word with the Barcelona medical staff. He’s straight back into action contesting the ball and goes down hurt again. That has to be it for him.
28 min: There’s a break in play as Busquets receives treatment and both sets of players adjourn to the touchline for an impromptu drinks reception. Busquets goes off with a bloody nose, looking a bit groggy. He’s anxious to get back on but his team’s medical staff are keeping him sidelined for the time being.
27 min: Sergio Busquets comes off second best from a clash of heads with Stefan Savic after the pair contested a high ball.
26 min: Barcelona continue pressing and probing patiently around the edge of the final third, attempting to find a way through the massed ranks of the Atletico defence.
25 min: Jordi Alba gets forward down the left but completely overhits his attempted pass to Leo Messi.
22 min: Luis Suarez goes down holding his face after shipping a forearm to the chops from Gerard Pique as he tried to dart past him. He instructs the referee to give his former team-mate a yellow card, an order that goes ignored.
18 min: Clement Lenglet sticks in a foot to prevent Angel Correa making clean contact on a cross from the left. It’s a crucial interception from about eight yards out and Barcelona clear the resulting corner.
17 min: Alba and Pedri try to combine on the left side of the Atletico penalty area, but Felipe sticks out a leg and intercepts the ball before they can cause any damage. Fun stat: in the opening 15 minutes, Barcelona completed nearly 160 passes, Atletico just 39.
16 min: The free-kick is played short to Dest, who crosses into the penalty area. Gerard Pique rises high, but can’t reach it. Atletico clear their lines.
15 min: Saul Niguez replaces the injured Lemar in a cagey game so far low on chances and very high on free-kicks. There’s another one as Dest is fouled by Hermoso wide on the right between the left side of the penalty area and the touchline.
13 min: Thomas Lemar pulledup with a hamstring injury during that passage of play and has to go off. Nothing comes from the corner.
12 min: Barcelona win a corner as Griezmann attempts to pick out Sergino Dest in the penalty area after a neat through ball from Messi.
11 min: Atletico look happy to sit back and invite Barcelona on to them, hoping to attack their hosts on the break.
9 min: Now Pigue fouls Luis Suarez, who goes down on the edge of the Barcelona penalty area. The free-kick is well left of centre and Suarez curls it straight into the gloves of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
8 min: Another foul on Messi, this time by Angel Correa about 25 yards out from the Atletico penalty area.
7 min: Atletico try to get forward, making the pitch as wide as possible with Kieran Trippier and Yannick Carrasco hugging their respective touchlines.
6 min: Messi is fouled again in midfield as he lays the ball off to Sergio Busquets, Mario Hermoso the guilty party.
5 min: Both teams have lined up identically, with five across the back, three central midfielders each and two strikers.
3 min: Thomas Lemar picks up the ball on the left flank, cuts inside and tries a shot from distance. His low drive is on target but doesn’t trouble Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal.
2 min: Diego Simeone has been chopping and changing his formations in recent weeks, sometimes going withg a back four, other times a five. Today he seems to have lined up with three at the back, with Kieran Trippier and Yannick Carasco playing as wing-backs.
1 min: Play begins and within seconds Leo Messi is fouled by Koke. Moments later, Pedri is penalised for handball in a very scrappy opening 20 seconds.
Not long now: The teams march past the chaplaincy near the Camp Nou dressing-rooms and out on to the pitch with both sets of players wearing the colours with which their clubs are usually associated.
Barcelona wear maroon and blue shirts, blue shorts and blue socks. Atletico Madrid’s representatives wear red and white striped shirts, red shorts and red socks. Kick-off is just a few moments away, following the last of the pre-math formalities between captains Leo Messi and Koke.
Elsewhere in La Liga: Real Sociedad beat Elche last night, leaving the side from Alicante deep in trouble, second from bottom of the table but just a point from safety. In today’s early kick-off Alavers and Levante have played out a 2-2 draw. The point moves Alaves fifth from bottom, two points above the drop zone. Levante, on 39 points, look safe.
Ronald Koeman: The Barcelona manager serves the second part of a two-match touchline ban today, having failed to overturn the suspension he received after being dismissed from his technical area during Barcelona’s game against Granada shortly before the end of April.
Koeman was punished for saying “what a character” to referee Gonzalez Fuertes and believes his punishment does not fit the crime. He was also upset that he had already served half his ban before the powers that be had considerered his appeal, finally getting around to upholding his punishment yesterday.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Dest, Mingueza, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Messi, Griezmann.
Subs: Tenas, Neto, Firpo, Araujo, Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Moriba, Pjanic, Puig, Braithwaite, Dembele, Trincao.
Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati are both sidelined for Barcelona, while striker Martin Braithwaite is a major doubt. Sergi Roberto is expected to start at right wing-back for Ronald Koeman’s side, and with Leo Messi and Antoine Griezmann likely to start up front for Barca, Ousmane Dembele may have to settle for a place on the bench.
It’s all to play for in Spain and the stakes could scarcely be higher as La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid travel to the Camp Nou for a game that is likely to prove crucial in deciding the outcome of this year’s title race.
Atletico are top of the table, two points clear of Real Madrid and today’s opponents Barcelona. With just four rounds of fixtures remaining, they could all but end Barca’s title hopes with a victory. A win for the hosts, by contrast, would enable them to go a point clear of Diego Simeone’s side.
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