Atlético de Madrid took all three points by beating Barcelona 1-0 with a goal from Carrasco and thus achieve the first victory of the Simeone era against the Catalans in the Santander League. The rojiblancos, with this victory, present their candidacy to champion this courseAlthough they will remain faithful to their philosophy of going match by match. Cholo’s men are playing magnificent football and are already beginning to sow terror in their rivals, such as the terror that has already been established in Can Barça after the continuous punctures and the Messi-Griezmann soap opera that they are living.
Day 10 of the Santander League and one of the great Classics of the competition was playing. Two of the largest teams in Spain were measured in a game in which the dynamics were very different. Los colchoneros, with the hope of re-signing another year like that 2014 which came out champion. The azulgranas, with the need to win to continue re-engaging at the top of the table after several punctures so far this season. And on the pitch, a Joao Félix who gets everything in front of a ‘tired’ Messi and a Griezmann who is not even the shadow of what he was when he defended the Atlético de Madrid shield. There were enough incentives despite the absence of Luis Suárez due to coronavirus or that Cholo has never won in the League against Barça.
To try to get the three points, both teams came out as expected. El Cholo had Oblak; Trippier, Giménez, Savic, Hermoso; Saúl, Koke, Correa, Carrasco; Llorente and Joao Félix. To try to assault the Metropolitan Ronald Koeman also came out with heavy artillery: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Pjanic, De Jong; Messi, Pedri, Dembélé; Griezmann. In short, two great teams that want to be champions this year and for this they have to win these types of matches. The only thing missing was that the ball rolled to see who was the winner of this battle.
The meeting started and Barcelona touched the first goal after two minutes. Center of Dembélé to which Griezmann finishes forced and sends the leather over the crossbar. First and only warning from Ronald Koeman’s during the first act, except for an almost impossible delicacy that Messi tried when trying to make Oblak a Vaseline. And the minutes passed and It can already be assured that from that Atlético who gave away possession until they had their chance and win 1-0 there is nothing left. The mattresses felt comfortable with the ball and left great combinations, especially when the ball passed through the feet of Joao Félix.
Messi, ‘tired’ and disappeared
The local team could have advanced much earlier, but Ter Stegen, first, and then the crossbar got in his way. In the first one, a beautiful move by Atlético, which Llorente started by taking the ball by faith, ended with Saúl’s left foot from the front. The man from Elche ran into a providential hand of the German goalkeeper of Barcelona, who flew to work his miracle. Minutes later, pass to the perfect hole of Ángel Correa that Marcos Llorente star on the crossbar. Simeone’s men showed that they are capable of practicing beautiful football and being solid in defense.
So strong in defense that they did not give Barcelona a choice. The most prominent attacking player was Dembélé. Messi had to be ‘tired’ still, although we are all aware that the ’10’ needs half a chance to mess it up. Pedri and Griezmann were also missing thanks to Simeone’s great tactical approach. The culés could not find the gap in the central area and that is why they were looking for Ousmane, who signed a good duel with Mario Hermoso that warns Renan Lodi that he is going to put up resistance for the position. It was the French winger who gave Koke a yellow before the referee showed another to the mattress left-back, although the VAR had to call him to tell him that it was for Carrasco. One of those points, that of identity confusion, where technology can enter.
Ter Stegen, for grapes; Carrasco, for the goal
As a server had said, Messi needs little to nothing to cause danger and if he is associated with Jordi Alba, be careful. The side saw the hole and put it on the Rosario, who controlled and, almost without angle, shot at the door. Oblak went well down and saved in two times the shot of the footballer who turned 800 games with the Barcelona shirt. If the Argentine regretted his mistake, a few minutes later Dembélé’s disappointment was greater. The Frenchman fell badly in a fight with Carrasco and his shoulder hurt. At half-time he was going to try to see if he could continue, but both he and his teammates suffered a blow: Atlético’s goal. Corner for Barça, Atlético’s shot to clear the danger, Correa who sees Carrasco running with the entire rival field ahead. The Argentine gives it to him, Ter Stegen came out for grapes almost to the midfield, a subtle touch from the Belgian with the outside to throw a pipe and from more than 30 meters he sends the ball to the back of the net.
After the goal came the break and on the way back Osumane Dembélé also returned to the field to witness how the game followed the same script. Dominance, comfort and control of an Atlético that has always been used to suffering against Barcelona, although those of Ronald Koeman also had them. Lenglet enjoyed two heads practically in a row that, fortunately for the rojiblancos, went to the doll. The same center-back was in charge between the two of them to cut with a light touch of the ball what could have been a clear and obvious chance for a goal by Joao Félix.
Koeman moved the bench and gave entry to Coutinho for a Pedri who was missing. The canary has plenty of quality and seems to be ready for the big duels, but Atlético demands too much and went completely unnoticed by the Metropolitano. Minutes later, another change, but this time out of obligation. Piqué left the pitch in tears after Correa, who had been needed, fell on the foot he had supported. Bad knee movement that set off the alarms at Barça and that, in the absence of a medical report, does not look good for the central culé. Sergiño Dest entered in his place and Frenkie de Jong went to defense and Sergi Roberto advanced his position to the core.
Atlético is serious
Barcelona tried, but from afar. You smelled more danger when Atlético was around Ter Stegen’s area, which they reached with ease. In large part, thanks to Koke’s big match, which is going through one of the best moments of his career. The minutes passed and the culés began to get impatient. Diego Costa entered through Llorente to fix the rival defense and prevent everyone from going up. Neither Messi with the fouls he likes so much, nor Griezmann with a big head were capable of bothering Jan Oblak. There were more movements with ten minutes to go: Pjanic and Griezmann left and Braithwaite and Trincao entered, while Atleti Joao and Correa left and Kondogbia and Lemar took their places.
As is routine at Atlético, they were not satisfied with the 1-0 and were looking for the second against a Barcelona that, despite their will to equalize the contest, were unable to show that version of recent years. With the departure of players like Joao Félix, Llorente and Correa, it cost the mattress team a little more, but the situation was under control. Around 90 came the scare. Sergi Roberto shot from outside the area and Giménez slightly deflected the ball, which went away licking the stick to the delight of the locals. The final whistle sounded after a corner that cleared the red-and-white rear and which Ter Stegen wanted to go up to finish off and Koeman did not allow it. The game concluded and three very important points for an Atleti that has already established the regime of terror in the Santander League.