Barcelona left another piece of the League on Tuesday against Atlético de Madrid (2-2), adding their third draw since the competition resumed: 12 points out of 18 possible that leave the title on the plate to Real Madrid.
The Catalans, who improved their performance with respect to previous commitments, deserved more, but Simeone’s men held the type and equalized the shock twice from the penalty spot. The rojiblancos have already chained thirteen official matches without knowing defeat.
A Barça-Atlético always promises, even in times of pandemic. And the meeting did not disappoint from the beginning, with two teams engaged in a hot duel played at a dizzying pace, unbecoming of the icy new normal of this virtual football with a canned environment and orphaned by heat in the stands.
The rojiblanco team was the first to warn with a poisoned center of Carrasco from the left that neither Diego Costa nor Giménez hunted by miracle.
Barça replied with a dry shot from Rakitic that put Oblak to the test, and they had barely exceeded ten minutes of play when Diego Costa got into his own goal in a corner kicked by Messi. It was 1-0.
Carrasco returned to damage by left band, shortly after. And how. An arreón of his left Piqué seated and, with a break to profile with the right hand, caused the penalty of Arturo Vidal.
Ter Stegen guessed the intention to Diego Costa, but the VAR – this time yes – decided to intervene and ordered to repeat the launch when he understood that the Barça goalkeeper had gone ahead. Saúl replaced his partner from eleven meters and tricked Ter Stegen to put the 1-1 on the scoreboard.
Only 18 minutes had been played and the match met all expectations: round-trip football full of alternatives, goals and refereeing controversy. Atlético, as they almost always visit the Camp Nou, waiting behind, and Barça, taking the initiative through possession.
In an exercise in rebellion, Messi emerged in the meeting. A foreshortening of the Argentine star ended his typical thread with the left foot looking for the right corner of the Oblak goal. The ball was skimming the post.
The ’10’, in his eternal search for goal number 700, also proved it with a deflected shot and a too focused foul that the Atleti goalkeeper sent to a corner.
Those of Simeone managed to resist until the break but, at the beginning of the restart, Messi finally achieved the goal of his career by transforming, like Panenka, a penalty from Felipe to Semedo.
Ten minutes later, Diego Costa was about to make it 2-2. He beat the jump to Arturo Vidal, but an Arias center headed off target.
Despite the reply, Barça was still better. But he encountered a new obstacle. Hernández Hernández pointed out the third penalty of the night: a contact between Semedo and Carrasco.
Saúl returned to punish the left side of Ter Stegen, who this time was about to stop the launch of the visiting midfielder, but the ball ended up slipping through his fingers.
Piqué claimed a penalty from Giménez when he tried to shoot at the far post, but this time the capricious VAR did not want to take sides, and Arturo Vidal was about to make the third for the hosts.
There were twenty minutes left for Setien’s team, today better than in recent games, to engage in the League again. Again Vidal entered as a shell in the visiting area to win the jump to Lodi, but again his shot could not find Oblak’s goal.
The manager of the Catalan team reacted late and moved the bench giving Ansu Fati entrance five from the end. Worse did it with Griezmann. Playing for the championship, his coach put him at a discount against his former team with no time at all.
Even so, Barça tried until the end, although it was Atlético who was about to make the third in a against Lemar that Jao Félix failed to finish.