Barca Take Huge Leap to Second Consecutive League Title

Barca Take Huge Leap to Second Consecutive League Title

The stage was set on Saturday night for the ultimate showdown between 1st place FC Barcelona and 2nd place Atletico de Madrid. The clash in Barcelona was a must win for Los Colchoneros as they hoped to cut Barca’s sizeable eight point lead at the top of the table. Atletico found no such hope as Barca exhibited an all-around dominant performance as they won 2-0, seemingly ending the La Liga title race.

The Blaugrana came out of the gate looking sharp, displaying excellent team-play as well as individual prowess. With numerous opportunities in the first twenty minutes, Barca looked destined to score. Their closest chance came when Messi linked up with Jordi Alba, sending the ball over the Atleti defense and into the path of a cutting Alba. Alba’s impeccable first touch allowed him to get a shot off despite the charging Jan Oblak. Unfortunately, The fullback shot bounced off the near post, coming within inches of getting the game’s opening goal.

A few minutes after chances from both sides, Diego Costa got fouled by Arthur Melo, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano didn’t give the Spaniard the call. Costa furiously charged the referee for his missed call, coming within an inch from the referee’s face. After a few swear words from the Atletico striker, Manzano was having none of it and pulled his red card from his pocket. In disbelief and threatening to make physical contact, an angry Diego Costa had to be escorted off the field by his former international teammate, Gerard Pique. The red card in the 28’ meant that Atletico would now have to somehow win against first placed Barcelona at the Camp Nou, with a man down for the rest of the game.

A few minutes after chances from both sides, Diego Costa got fouled by Arthur Melo, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano didn’t give the Spaniard the call. Costa furiously charged the referee for his missed call, coming within an inch from the referee’s face. After a few swear words from the Atletico striker, Manzano was having none of it and pulled his red card from his pocket. In disbelief and threatening to make physical contact, an angry Diego Costa had to be escorted off the field by his former international teammate, Gerard Pique. The red card in the 28’ meant that Atletico would now have to somehow win against first placed Barcelona at the Camp Nou, with a man down for the rest of the game.

Even though it was now mission impossible for Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone’s men held their own, and early the second half, it seemed as if Atletico were playing with eleven men, not ten. Both teams had a number of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. The game seemed to be heading to a 0-0 stalemate, but then the brilliance of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi suddenly appeared in the 85’ and 86’ minute.

As soon as Suarez got the ball on the edge of the area, he turned and fired a low curling shot, beating Oblak and hitting the post as it past the goal line. The overjoyed Uruguayan ripped his shirt off to celebrate his late game winner against the 2nd place team, ultimately ending their title hopes.

Following the restart to Suarez’s goal, Lionel Messi wasted no time to put the game to bed as Sergio Busquets found Messi in wide open space and dribbled around two defenders, and eventually fooled Oblak as he slotted the close shot in the ear corner without the Atletico keeper even moving.

With the win Barca extend their lead at the top of the table to eleven points with seven games remaining, meaning Barca are as good as league champions.

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