Decisive win for Barça against AtleticoJanuary 12, 2015
Last week seemed all doom and gloom around Barça, with the sacking of the Sporting Director, Carles Puyol quitting as his deputy, talk of Luis Enrique being given an ultimatum and reports of Leo Messi’s imminent departure from the club.
While no doubt some of those undercurrents will continue to rumble on, the squad delivered on Sunday night when they faced Atletico Madrid in what was always going to be one of the big tests of the season. Going into the weekend the two clubs were on equal points and just a single point behind Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand. This weekend at least saw Barça create another gap with the current league title holders.
Despite the cloud hanging over FC Barcelona, the players went into the match looking intent on a win. Strong on the attack from the start, it didn’t take long for Neymar to score the opener from a Messi assist. Atletico often get pretty rough when things aren’t going their way and after going a goal down play started getting pretty physical, resulting in Neymar requiring attention after a particularly hard tackle. After recovering he came close to adding to his goal tally, but it was Messi who again provided the assist for Barcelona’s second goal, scored by Suarez.
Back on after the break a penalty was awarded to the visitors for a foul by Messi, which was kicked home by Mandzukic. And as the end of the match drew nearer both teams applied more pressure resulting in a spate of fouls. In the end it was Messi who scored the final goal of the match in the last few minutes of the game with an assist from Rakitic, sealing the win for Barça and another three points.
1-0 Neymar (min 11)
2-0 Suárez (min 34)
2-1 Mandzukic (min 56)
3-1 Messi (min 86)