At last Atlético de Simeone broke one of the few remaining barriers under the Argentine coach’s direction. A league victory against Barcelona that uncovered the realities of both teams. The rojiblancos hit the table to present their candidacy for the title without excuses. The Catalans offered another sign that they are still looking for each other as a group. The same languor and disorientation that Messi shows his team. Nine points below those of Simeone, LaLiga begins to become an Everest for this Barça that left a very flat image in all facets.
The party was born open and inclined towards the sides from the board and the alignments, conditioned by the absences of Luis Suárez and Herrera in one, and by that of Busquets in the other. Simeone’s clasp this time was born from a defense of three centrals, which placed Carrasco sunk as a lane to the left. The resource is already becoming common because Hermoso is a false side when he plays in defense of four. Koeman envied with Dembélé on the right, Pedri on the left and Messi and Griezmann alternating as false forwards. The plans of both technicians led to a meeting between Dembélé and Carrasco. And as with any duel between extremes, a round trip service was precipitated. The first to teach and break waist was the French. He nailed the Belgian and his center was connected by Griezmann with the toe. Atlético’s response was immediate. A quick transition from right to left that Carrasco ended up leaving for Saúl to test Ter Stegen with a shoe to which the German goalkeeper responded with flight and a firm forearm. The first strokes gave the impression that Atlético was going to let Barça run and then gallop mounted on Carrasco’s stride. A maneuver, again, in the band of the Belgian, supported by João Félix in a tuya-mía ended on the opposite side. There Correa invented a filtered pass to Llorente. Ter Stegen’s right hand hit the crossbar.
After that initial explosion, there was a drop in revolutions, where Barça’s worst defects emerged. The resignation of Pedri, fallen to the left, and the feeling that Messi and Griezmann, both moving through the middle, are caked. The little weight of that trio destined to sting in attack reinforced the idea of Simeone to play with Savic, Giménez and Hermoso, the latter dominating the duels and masterful in the exit of the ball. Atlético shielded the interior corridors and disconnected their most feared rivals. Messi’s only trace in the first act was a filtered pass. That Messi is not Messi was revealed by the only connection he had with Jordi Alba. In one of those plays that have sewn so much between forests of legs, the Argentine was listed in front of Oblak. And he hesitated, like the great proof of his sorrow. He chose a tame finish. To the plain of the Barça the civil service distribution of Pjanic and De Jong contributed. Nothing to do with another Koke game in which he confirmed his rise. Now he runs like always and seems to enjoy the ball like never before. At his side, Saúl gave him legs and height for the passing game.
In that less frantic match that was played, Atlético always showed another point of faith and electricity for disputes. And so he reached the goal, born from a delicatessen by Mario Hermoso. The center-back came out of a hurry in his own area with a cut passing the ball from behind and putting a long pass that Piqué controlled poorly. Correa was there, always ready to smell the blood and detect where there is a space to hurt. His ball into space to Carrasco caught the Barça defense naked and in the opposite field. Ter Stegen had to play free and swallowed a pipe with Carrasco’s spur, who only had to give a fine touch inside to score an empty goal from outside the area. The Belgian’s game, who sometimes performs like this with his national team, was memorable. Another of those examples of union transformation that Simeone likes so much. He was equally a correct and sacrificed winger and a stabbing winger when he felt free to run. His goal, in the discount of the first act, was a blow for Barça, and a wishbone for Atlético.
The resumption responded to the mood in which one team and the other entered the booth. The rojiblancos emerged emboldened, encasing a stunned Barça and squeezed by the legs and the rhythm to which he was subjected. A forehead from Lenglet with everything in his favor lacked direction to get him away from Oblak’s hands, as always in his place. Another head of Griezmann was the last occasion of the Barça. Little of Messi and nothing of Coutinho, Braitwhite and Trincao, the solutions that Koeman looked for to change to a flat Barça.