Barcelona and Atlético were the clear highlight of the 15th round of the Spanish La Liga. On Sunday night, the Catalan club won thanks to a goal scored by a player visiting from Madrid. João Félix scored the decisive goal after less than half an hour of play, following up his Tuesday’s strike into the Porto net.
The hosts at the Olympic Stadium on Montjuïc hill started better. Early on, Raphinha and Lewandowski got the finishing touches, but were unsuccessful. However, there was also a dangerous situation on the other side in the opening five minutes, but the combination of Molina and Llorente did not result in a goal. In the seventh minute, Lewandowski failed in another chance.
In the 13th minute, the Polish canon tried a free kick in the whitewash after a Koundé centre. However, he missed the ball perfectly and his aim was inaccurate. The pace of the game dropped a little in the first half. Xavi’s charges were more active going forward, they had the ball in their possession more often.
In the 29th minute they opened the scoring. João Félix took a pass from Raphinha on the edge of the penalty area and then beat Jan Oblak with a spectacular and effective curve. He then celebrated the goal for the club he had been struggling with and from which he is a guest in Barcelona.
Atlético tried for an early equaliser, for example Griezmann’s shot was blocked by the returning De Jong after a quick counter-attack in the 36th minute. In the 44th minute, Félix could have scored a second time from close range, but this time Oblak saved. And because Lewandowski’s header flew over the crossbar, the score remained unchanged until the break.
Coach Diego Simeone tried to react to the unfavourable developments by making three half-time substitutions. Riquelme, Molina and Giménez left the field and were replaced by Correa, Azpilicueta and Lino.
However, in the 57th minute the home side came close to a second goal when Raphinha hit the bar from outside the sixteen. A minute later they survived a nasty break from their opponents without conceding a goal, as Griezmann finished into the side netting of the goal guarded by Iñaki Peña. The latter, by the way, made his third consecutive save in place of injured number one Ter Stegen.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper intervened in the 61st minute against Morata, who tried to cross Llorente’s cross from the right in front of him. Madrid’s effort to score could not be denied, but the same was true of Barcelona’s.
However, with ten minutes to go, they faced a direct free kick, which was played in from a promising position to the near post by former Blaugranas player Depay. Peña, who made a fine save, was also helped by the goal construction. The 86th minute brought a great opportunity for Lewandowski, who narrowly missed the target after a good cross.
Atlético’s final attacks did not bring a reversal, thanks to a confident Peña, and Barça won 1:0. In the next round, the third team in the table will face a Catalan derby with second-placed Girona, while the next opponent of the fourth-placed Rojiblancos is the last-placed Almería.
Source: La Liga, Nova Sport 4
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