Spanish La Liga
Atl MadridAtlético Madrid1BarcelonaBarcelona2

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Barcelona

By Emlyn BegleyBBC Sport
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals in as many La Liga games against Atletico

Lionel Messi scored a late winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid to go briefly top of La Liga.

Rafinha gave Barca the lead when Luis Suarez - who had an effort ruled out - took a shot which ricocheted off two defenders to land at his feet.

Diego Godin levelled when he headed home Koke's free-kick.

But Messi pounced in the 86th minute to win the game for the champions after his initial effort was blocked by defender Stefan Savic.

Real Madrid went back to the top of the table by one point later in the day when they came back from 2-0 down to beat Villarreal 3-2. They still have a game in hand on Barca.

Atleti, the 2014 champions, are now 10 points off leaders Real.

Messi is Barca's saviour again

Barca were far from their best again, but they have now followed their 4-0 Champions League humbling by Paris St-Germain with two 2-1 victories in La Liga - with Messi scoring a late winner in each of them.

Atletico dominated the first half, with Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen making a multitude of saves. The visitors improved after the break but looked destined to be held until Messi's late intervention.

The Argentine, who had earlier forced a brilliant Jan Oblak save from a free-kick, pounced late on again from close range. Luis Suarez played the ball back to Messi, whose first shot was blocked by Savic. But he remained alert to poke home the rebound and send Barca top for four hours.

That was Messi's 20th La Liga goal in 21 games this season - and his 21st against Atletico in the league in as many attempts.

Atletico's title dream well and truly over

Atletico had looked well out of the title race at the end of 2016 but a run of eight La Liga games without a defeat, including six wins, had given them an outside chance of mounting a late challenge.

But nine points off Barca and 10 off Real, who have played one game fewer, is surely too big a bridge at this stage of the season, even for the brilliant coach Diego Simeone.

They will come to rue a series of missed efforts - with Godin driving over, and Gabi and Antoine Griezmann forcing saves from Ter Stegen in the first half, and the German again denying Griezmann after the break.

Godin's goal, his first against Barca since the effort which won the 2013-14 La Liga title, had looked enough for a point before Messi's late winner.

Now the real question is whether Atletico can hold onto the final Champions League qualifying spot, with fifth-placed Real Sociedad sitting only one point behind them.

Line-ups

Atl Madrid

  • 13Oblak
  • 16Vrsaljko
  • 15SavicBooked at 65mins
  • 2Godín
  • 3Filipe Luís
  • 6Koke
  • 14Fernández ArenasBooked at 73mins
  • 8SaúlBooked at 56mins
  • 10CarrascoSubstituted forTorresat 68'minutes
  • 21GameiroSubstituted forCorreaat 72'minutesBooked at 74mins
  • 7Griezmann

Substitutes

  • 1Moyá
  • 9Torres
  • 11Correa
  • 19Hernández
  • 22Partey
  • 23Gaitán
  • 24Giménez

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 3Piqué
  • 23Umtiti
  • 24MathieuSubstituted forDigneat 77'minutes
  • 5BusquetsBooked at 55mins
  • 20RobertoSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 85'minutes
  • 8IniestaSubstituted forRakiticat 71'minutes
  • 10MessiBooked at 82mins
  • 12Rafinha
  • 9Suárez
  • 11Neymar

Substitutes

  • 4Rakitic
  • 6D Suárez
  • 13Cillessen
  • 17Alcácer
  • 18Alba
  • 19Digne
  • 21André Gomes
Referee:
Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Attendance:
52,440

Match Stats

Home TeamAtl MadridAway TeamBarcelona
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home13
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away6
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home28
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Atlético de Madrid 1, Barcelona 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Atlético de Madrid 1, Barcelona 2.

  3. Post update

    Hand ball by Luis Suárez (Barcelona).

  4. Post update

    Offside, Atlético de Madrid. Sime Vrsaljko tries a through ball, but Ángel Correa is caught offside.

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Atlético de Madrid 1, Barcelona 2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner following a set piece situation.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

  7. Post update

    Rafinha (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. André Gomes replaces Sergi Roberto.

  10. Post update

    Lucas Digne (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

  12. Post update

    Hand ball by Fernando Torres (Atlético de Madrid).

  13. Booking

    Lionel Messi (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Neymar (Barcelona).

  15. Post update

    Sime Vrsaljko (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético de Madrid).

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  19. Post update

    Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Sime Vrsaljko (Atlético de Madrid).

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 26th February 2017

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid23174260223855
2Barcelona24166265204554
3Sevilla24164448291952
4Atl Madrid24136544212345
5Real Sociedad2414283732544
6Villarreal24109532181439
7Eibar2411583931838
8Ath Bilbao2411583129238
9Espanyol249873331235
10Celta Vigo2310493737034
11Alavés248972429-533
12Las Palmas2477103236-428
13Valencia2475123443-926
14Malaga2468103140-926
15Real Betis2366112337-1424
16Leganés2456132039-1921
17Dep La Coruña2347122639-1319
18Sporting Gijón2445152648-2217
19Granada2437142252-3016
20Osasuna2417162455-3110
View full Spanish La Liga table

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