BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi scored his 700th profession purpose for membership and nation earlier than Atletico Madrid got here again to attract 2-2 within the Spanish league on Tuesday and deal Barcelona’s title hopes a significant blow.
Barcelona’s third attract 4 rounds left it in second place, one level behind chief Actual Madrid. Madrid hosts Getafe on Thursday with an opportunity to open up a four-point lead with 5 extra matches remaining.
Barcelona was two factors forward of Madrid when the league was halted in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Whereas Madrid has received 5 of 5 because the resumption after a three-month stoppage, Barcelona has solely received three of six. The stress is growing on coach Quique Setién, who took over the workforce in mid-season with the duty of rekindling its attacking spirit.
“It’s too dangerous as a result of we maintain dropping factors and getting additional and additional away from the title,” Setién mentioned. “However now we have to maintain preventing.”
Barcelona struck first within the 11th minute when Atlético striker Diego Costa inadvertently redirected a nook by Messi into his personal internet.
Costa’s night time bought worse shortly after when his penalty was blocked by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Atlético, nevertheless, bought to retake the spot kick when a video evaluate decided that the Barcelona goalkeeper had moved off his line too early.
Saúl Ñíguez stepped up as a substitute of Costa on the second try and transformed to degree the rating within the 19th.
Messi restored the host’s lead in 56th by coolly scoring a penalty within the “Panenka” model, chipping it softly previous goalie Jan Oblak. The purpose was Messi’s 630th membership purpose to go together with 70 for his Argentina. It was additionally his league-leading 22nd purpose of the season.
Atlético responded once more by means of the pace of ahead Yannick Carrasco, who was tripped by Nelson Semedo and despatched Saúl again to the spot. Ter Stegen bought a hand on his penalty however not sufficient to maintain it out.
Diego Simeone’s Atlético remained undefeated within the six matches because the competitors resumed. It stayed in third place, 12 factors behind Madrid.
Simeone left ahead João Félix on the bench till the second half in favor of the in-form midfielder Marcos Llorente, who is prospering in help of the assault.
Llorente led the assault early on, however Carrasco together with his pace on the left flank proved to be the guests’ greatest weapon. Twice the Belgian ahead burst into the field on a counterattack and was taken down by late tackles from Arturo Vidal and Semedo.
“Carrasco got here again from the stoppage in higher form, and is now again to enjoying at his finest degree,” Simeone mentioned about his ahead, who’s in his second stint with the membership.
Setién opted for leaving Messi and Luis Suárez alone up entrance and including an additional midfielder in teenager Riqui Puig, retaining forwards Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati on the bench. Puig had one among his finest performances for Barcelona, displaying his passing and ball management expertise as he linked up effectively with Messi and his different teammates.
Barcelona shouldn’t be blowing out rivals prefer it used to, however its predominant drawback is its failure to guard leads. It additionally went forward twice at Celta Vigo on Saturday solely to concede twice to attract 2-2.
“All of the video games which might be left are tremendous necessary and all factors we drop harm our possibilities,” the 20-year-old Puig mentioned after his second straight begin. “The opposite day the identical factor occurred, they had been in a position to battle again in video games we had been successful because of our foolish mistake or lapses in focus.”
Messi helped put Barcelona forward when he struck a nook low and laborious on the close to put up, the place Costa tried to clear it however as a substitute let it hit the within of his leg. The ball bounced off the turf and left Oblak no likelihood.
Earlier than his penalty, Messi virtually curled in a shot from the proper facet that got here inches from bending into the far nook of the purpose.
Barcelona’s finest likelihood to get the winner got here from Vidal, who fired a shot simply by the put up with 20 minutes to go.