It’s another bad night for Barcelona, who have drawn three of their lost four games. Real Madrid are in control of the title race as a result, and will go four points clear if they beat Getafe on Thursday. Lionel Messi scored his 700th career goal – not counting the Rakuten Cup – but Saul Niguez equalised twice from the penalty spot to give Atletico a point they probably deserved.
Full time: Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid
Barcelona ( BAR-sə-LOH-nə, Catalan: [bəɾsəˈlonə], Spanish: [baɾθeˈlona]) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the fifth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, the Ruhr area, Madrid, and Milan. It is one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 metres (1,680 feet) high.
Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon as an economic and administrative centre of this Crown and the capital of the Principality of Catalonia. Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Since 1450, it is home to the University of Barcelona. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean are located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions and also many international sport tournaments.
Barcelona is a major cultural, economic, and financial centre in southwestern Europe, as well as the main biotech hub in Spain. As a leading world city, Barcelona’s influence in global socio-economic affairs qualifies it for global city status.Barcelona is a transport hub, with the Port of Barcelona being one of Europe’s principal seaports and busiest European passenger port, an international airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which handles over 50 million passengers per year, an extensive motorway network, and a high-speed rail line with a link to France and the rest of Europe.
Barcelona 2-2 Atlético Madrid: La Liga – as it happened
90+4 min Lemar is booked for violating Ansu Fati on the left wing. This is Barcelona’s last chance.
90+3 min So nearly a winner for Atletico! A long ball found Lemar in the area; he was forced wide by ter Stegen and turned the ball back into the middle, where it was booted clear by a Barcelona defender. An Atletico player, Joao Felix I think, was waiting to score the winner.
Barcelona 2-2 Atlético Madrid: La Liga – as it happened
90+1 min Thomas slashes a shot just wide from 25 yards. This game still feels very open.
90 min Four minutes.
90 min A change for Barcelona: Vidal is replaced by Antoine Griezmann, who finally gets on the field against his former club.
89 min Semedo’s high, hanging cross is headed wide by Ansu Fati, who fouled Arias in the process.
89 min Barcelona really, really, really need a goal right now.
88 min Thomas and Saul are such an impressive, indefatigable central-midfield pair. You and I could play centre-back behind them and still keep a few clean sheets.
87 min Morata’s hopeful shot from the left side of the area is blocked by Semedo.
86 min Luis Suarez is still on the pitch, it says here. He’s been shocking, and we all know what happens next.
84 min Substitutions galore. First Atletico: Vitolo and Lemar replace Correa and the superb Carrasco, who was fouled for both penalties. Barcelona bring on Ansu Fati for Busquets.
83 min Lodi’s cross is brilliantly headed away by Lengelt, under considerable pressure from Morata at the near post.
81 min Messi’s inswinging free-kick is headed on and over the bar by Busquets in front of the near post. It was a difficult chance, a speculative flick-on as much as anything.
80 min Carrasco is booked for a foul on Messi, or maybe for the dissent that followed it. I’m not sure it was a foul.
77 min Morata replaces Diego Costa, who has had a busy night.
76 min Drinks break.
75 min A brilliant cross from Jordi Alba is headed wide from five yards by Vidal. It was a majestic late run into the area from Vidal, but he was at full stretch and in mid-air when he made contact with the ball. It skimmed off his head and went wide of the far post. Diego Costa is booked for hoofing Puig in the build-up.
73 min Joao Felix’s well-struck shot from the left edge of the area is comfortably held by ter Stegen.
72 min Messi plays an excellent through ball towards Vidal, who gets caught in two minds and is tackled just outside the area. This match reeks of a glorious late winner from Messi.
71 min A fine effort from Vidal, who crashes a curling shot just wide from inside the D. It was set up by Semedo, who surged into the area and cut the ball back at the perfect pace for Vidal to hit first time.
69 min A change for Atletico: Joao Felix replaces the slightly disappointing Llorente.
69 min Pique appeals for a penalty after a challenge from behind by Gimenez. There wasn’t enough in it, though it was clumsy from Gimenez.
68 min Riqui Puig has had a fine game in midfield. He has a lovely lightness of touch to go with his youthful exuberance and work rate.
67 min What a strange game. We’ve had three penalties, four if you include the retake, and a unique own goal from Diego Costa.
65 min Vidal is lucky not to be booked for a lunging foul on Diego Costa.
63 min Ivan Rakitic is replaced by Sergi Roberto.
GOAL! Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid (Saul 62 pen)
Saul scores his second penalty! He went the same way, low to the right – but this time ter Stegen went the right way and probably should have saved it. It slithered through his hands and in off the post.
61 min: PENALTY TO ATLETICO! It’s the third penalty of the game. Semedo fouled Carrasco, though I’m not sure he meant it. Semedo kneed Carrasco’s trailing leg onto his standing leg, which knocked him off balance and gave the referee little choice.
61 min Messi is booked for kicking the ball away after the referee penalised him for a challenge on Lodi.
58 min Puig makes a superb off-the-ball run into the Atletico area. Messi almost picks him up with a delicious pass from the right wing, but it’s just too heavy and Puig can’t control it on the stretch.
56 min: Chance for Costa! That was so much better from Atletico. Arias played a give-and-go with Llorente on the right and drove an excellent cross towards Diego Costa. He towered over Vidal and planted a downward header just wide of the far post.
55 min Griezmann and Ansu Fati are warming up. If Fati replaces Luis Suarez, Twitter will eat itself.
54 min Barcelona have dominated the start of the second half. In the circumstances, this would be an excellent win. Despite all their problems, all the fiascos of the season, they could end up winning La Liga and the Champions League.
53 min “A cursory Google search revealed that Teddy Sheringham is the Premier League’s oldest goal scorer at 40 years and 266 days, for West Ham in December 2006,” says Matt Burtz. “There’s hope for me yet!”
Depends how many yards you can run in your head.
51 min Felipe, who has had an abysmal couple of minutes, is harshly booked for a sliding collision with Busquets.
51 min Hang on, he’s scored 700 goals!
That was a delightful penalty, kissed softly into the net as Oblak dived to the left.
GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Messi 50 pen)
Lionel Messi scores the 700th goal of his career with the jauntiest of Panenkas!
48 min: PENALTY TO BARCELONA! Felipe kicks the bottom of Semedo’s foot just inside the area, and the referee gives a penalty. I think it was a foul.
47 min “Rob, apparently the Pjanic-Arthur swap is a deal to make the books look good, as the always excellent Swiss Ramble explains,” says Alberto Tobias. “Barcelona already did something similar last year when they swapped goalkeepers with Valencia (Cilessen for Neto).”
Thanks, that’s interesting.
46 min Peep peep! Barcelona begin the second half.
If it stays like this, Barcelona will be a point behind Real Madrid having played a game more. Madrid also have the head-to-head advantage.
“Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “Re: the Barcelona players in their 30s, I take your point, but as a man who is a month away from turning 39, please let me cling to the notion that I’m still plausibly young enough to be playing professional sports.”
“What has happened to Jordi Alba?” says Charles Antaki. “He used to be a guaranteed source of runs and crosses from the left, and he’s been invisible in recent Barça games. Not that things are happening much on the right with Semedo; has the new(ish) manager turned his back on the currently fashionable wing-backery?”
Strange, isn’t it, especially given his link-up with Messi. And Barcelona are playing a diamond midfield tonight, which usually requires the full-backs to do 90 minutes of shuttle runs.
Half time: Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Peep peep! That was an enjoyable half of football, and the scoreline is about right. Diego Costa had a desperate five minutes, scoring a comedy own goal and having a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. But VAR spotted that ter Stegen was off his line, and Saul scored from the retake. Messi had been a menace at one end, Carrasco – who won the penalty – a big threat at the other. See you in 15 minutes for the second half.
45+3 min Carrasco charges at the backpedalling Barcelona defence and drives a fierce low shot that is blocked. The ball rebounds off Costa, possibly hitting his elbow, and is put behind for a corner. Thankfully for Barcelona and VAR protocol, nothing comes of the corner.
45+1 min “Do we talk enough about Messi’s passing?” says Stephen Carr. “It’s consistently, utterly brilliant.”
It feels like it has been recognised appropriately in the last couple of years, even if it is still sometimes overshadowed by his finishing and dribbling.
45 min Four added minutes.
42 min Messi’s deflected free-kick is slapped over the bar by Oblak, who had to change direction at the last minute. In the end it was a really good save.
41 min Puig produces a lovely bit of skill to beat Partey, who responds by booting him up in the air 30 yards from goal. He’s lucky not to be booked for that. Messi may yet inflict an alternative punishment.
40 min Seven of this Barcelona starting XI are in their thirties. That’s all kinds of wrong.
39 min The young midfielder Riqui Puig has had a decent half, but that aside Messi has had very little support.
38 min “Suarez is playing?” sniffs Paul Fitzgerald.
He hasn’t been at his best.
35 min Saul is booked for a cynical foul on Messi, who has been a one-man attack for much of this half.
33 min A chance for Atletico. A low cross from the right, from Arias I think, found Llorente in space 10 yards from goal. He miscontrolled the ball, and Correa behind him couldn’t take the ball in his stride. Llorente’s was the big chance.
31 min Time for a drinks break.