Luis Suarez goal earns Barcelona point at Atletico Madrid
Wanda Metropolitano, La Liga - Atletico Madrid 1 (Niguez 21') Barcelona 1 (Suarez 82')
Luis Suarez scored a late equaliser to preserve Barcelona’s unbeaten start to the league season, keeping the Catalans five points clear at the top of the table with a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.
This was a season-defining game for both sides, with the hosts looking to drag themselves into the thick of the title race. But they couldn't hold on to their lead, secured by Saul Niguez in the first half as he curled home a right-footed finish after being given too much space on the edge of the box.
Atletico Madrid sat back and absorbed Barcelona pressure for much of the game, hitting out on the counter attack when they could. It was a game plan that worked until eight minutes from time when Suarez drifted away at the back post to head home a deep cross from substitute Sergi Roberto.
The result keeps Barcelona in control at the top of La Liga, although with Real Madrid beating Getafe earlier in the day the gap between first and second has closed to five points. This could prove to be a significant point for Ernesto Valverde’s men.
TALKING POINT - Could Barcelona have had even more from this game?
Valverde will be satisfied with how his side persevered and secured a point at a difficult venue against a difficult opponent. But might Barcelona have had even more? It wasn’t until Valverde moved Andres Gomes from his position on the right and introduced midfielders with a more direct approach that the Catalans started to make an impression in the final third. What if they had done that from the start?
MAN OF THE MATCH - Koke (Atletico Madrid)
For so long, it looked like Atletico Madrid were going to see out a narrow win over the league leaders. Had that come to pass, Koke would have deserved more credit than most. He was the valve through which Atleti’s play flowed through. He was a defensive barrier, whilst also picking the passes that facilitated the hosts’ counter attacking play. He was exceptional.
1’ WHAT A START! Messi comes so close to opening the scoring within 30 seconds of kick off! He dribbled through about Atletico defenders before squeezing a shot away, but it strikes the side netting.
14’ GRIEZMANN IS ON FIRE! Wow! What a goal that would have been. Griezmann knocks the ball through the legs of Pique and surges into the box, but Ter Stegen makes the save with his legs.
21’ GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona: The hosts have the lead and the Metropolitano has just erupted! Saul has a reputation of big goals in big games and he has another, finding the corner of the net from the edge of the box.
60’ MESSI HITS THE POST! Oblak was nowhere near that. Messi strikes a freekick towards the Atletico Madrid goal, beating the Slovenian but not beating the woodwork. Man, that was close.
64’ PENALTY CLAIM! Should that have been a spot kick to Barcelona? The ball appeared to strike the arm of Savic inside the area, but the referee waves away the claims of the visitors.
82’ GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: A massive goal! A season defining goal! Roberto whips a cross to the back post where Suarez had peeled away from his marker and heads home. Oblak couldn't get there.
There were 18 passes in the build-up for Saul Niguez's opening goal, the most before a goal against Barcelona in La Liga since the 2005/06 season.
Diego Simeone has never lost to Ernesto Valverde in La Liga.
Lionel Messi has hit the woodwork more often than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this season (six).