Barcelona have missed out on the chance to go top of the league table in a tense but goalless draw with Atletico Madrid.
Lionel Messi has been the game-changer for Barcelona on umpteen occasions. Messi’s magical dribbling and sublime control can leave the best in the business rooted to the spot, as the Argentine superstar goes on to make a difference. Today was not one of those days, as Jan Oblak pulled off a sensational save to deny Messi following an excellent run, leaving him absolutely astonished. It perfectly summed up a frustrating evening for Barcelona, who were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Atletico Madrid. Barcelona have missed out on an opportunity to go top of the league table. While it hands a slight advantage to the visitors, it provides Real Madrid with a wonderful opportunity to control the script in one of the most exciting and fascinating La Liga title races in recent memory.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was extremely busy in the first half, with Atletico Madrid handed numerous opportunities to get a goal under their belt. From a fabulous piece of defending by Clement Lenglet to thwart Angel Correa to a wasted Felipe chance that sailed over the bar… and with a number of providential interventions by Ter Stegen in between, Yannick Carrasco and Luis Suarez coming particularly close, Atletico had a feast of chances. Their six shots on target were the most by a visiting team at Camp Nou since 2003/04. Messi’s thunderbolt of a shot was the main aspect of consequence from Barcelona’s point of view in the opening 45 minutes.
However, things changed very quickly in the second half as a Messi free-kick almost managed to beat Jan Oblak, with Ronald Araujo caught offside after heading into the net. Ousmane Dembele had an opportunity to head home a point-blank header in the 84th minute, but hit it over the wrong side of the bar by mistake. Messi won a free kick in the 90th minute right close to the box, from where the Argentine superstar has converted on umpteen occasions. However, it was not meant to be.
It will be interesting to note the scoreline of the La Liga encounter between Real Madrid and Sevilla. A defeat for the former could well result in fresh hope for the others involved in the title race.