Messi goal extends Atletico winless run against Barcelona
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 02, 2019 07:51 AM
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi scored in the 86th minute as Barcelona won 1-0 Sunday to extend its unbeaten run against Atlético Madrid in the Spanish league to 19 matches.
Messi struck with a low left-footed shot from outside the area after being set up by Luis Suárez to keep Barcelona unbeaten against Atlético in nine years.
The victory put Barcelona back at the top of the league above Real Madrid — which won at Alavés on Saturday — on goal difference.
Atlético dropped to sixth place, six points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid which have a game in hand after their October clásico was postponed until Dec. 18 because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital.
Sevilla stayed third after beating last-place Leganés 1-0 earlier Sunday, while Real Sociedad is in fourth place after routing Eibar 4-1 on Saturday.
Atlético had most of the chances at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, but both teams squandered good opportunities throughout the match.
Each side hit the woodwork in the first half, and both goalkeepers — Atlético’s Jan Oblak and Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen — made some good saves to keep the game scoreless.
Messi broke the deadlock after an exchange with Suárez, whose perfect touch just outside the box set up the playmaker’s well-placed low shot.
Atlético’s last league win over Barcelona was in February 2010, a 2-1 victory at the now demolished Vicente Calderón Stadium.
Barcelona has won 14 matches since then, with five draws. Atlético’s last win against the Catalan rival in all competitions was a 2-1 result in the quarterfinals of the 2015-16 Champions League. Atlético’s worst streak against a single club is a 23-match winless run against Real Madrid from 2000 to 2013.
Gerard Piqué, whose close-range header struck the crossbar near the end of the first half, had to be substituted in the final minutes after a knock to his right leg.
SEVILLA STAYS CLOSE
Sevilla beat Leganés to keep pace with the leaders.
Brazilian defender Diego Carlos scored in the 63rd to give the team its fifth straight win in all competitions.
Julen Lopetegui’s squad hasn’t lost in 10 matches in all competitions, since a 4-0 rout at Barcelona in the league.
Leganés is at the bottom of the 20-team standings with six points from 15 matches. It hasn’t won in five consecutive league games, with four losses and a draw. Three of the losses came against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla.
ATHLETIC WINS AGAIN
Athletic Bilbao beat Granada 2-0 at home for its fourth straight victory.
Raúl García scored from a penalty kick in the 41st and Yuri Berchiche sealed the win in the 83rd at the San Mamés Stadium, putting Athletic in fifth place with 26 points, five behind Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Granada dropped to 10th place, with 21 points.
Espanyol remained winless in eight home matches in the league this season after a 4-2 loss to 10-man Osasuna, which played without defender Facundo Roncaglia from the 52nd because of a second yellow card for dangerous play.
Espanyol, which has lost four of its last five league games, stayed second to last with nine points. Osasuna, which had one win in its last four league games, jumped to ninth place.
Also, seventh-place Getafe routed 11th-place Levante 4-0 will all goals coming in the second half.