Barcelona 2-0 Atletico Madrid: 3 things we learned | LaLiga 2018/19
Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 in a crucial LaLiga match last night at Camp Nou to virtually ensure their 26th league title. They now have 73 points from 31 matches and stretched their lead over 2nd placed Atletico to 11 points.
Atletico Madrid remained at 62 points with 31 matches and should be vying with Real Madrid for the 2nd place in the league table. Both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez found the net yesterday for Barca. It took Barcelona 85 minutes to break the deadlock, as Suarez opened the scoring for them. Messi increased the deficit within a minute to put the matter beyond any doubt.
Atletico played more than 60 minutes with 10 men, as striker Diego Costa was sent off in the 28th minute because of reckless behaviour. Barca enjoyed more than 60% ball-possession, and also had more shots on goal. We would now take a look at the 3 takeaways from the match:
#1. An interesting midfield tussle was marred by Costa’s sending off
Atletico started in a 4-4-2 formation, with Antoine Griezmann and Costa as their two forwards, while Barca began in their customary 4-3-3 formation. The match saw a riveting battle between the midfielders of the two sides, and Atletico actually had the better share of exchanges for the first 20 minutes.
Atletico were actually leading Barca in terms of ball-possession and number of passes played after the first 20 minutes of the game. Their midfielders like Koke, Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey made a lot of interceptions in the midfield and kept winning the ball back.
Moreover, Griezmann, who had started the match as a forward, switched to an attacking midfielder’s role gradually, as Atletico adopted a 4-5-1 formation. Barca's midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Arthur Melo also played some probing passes to their forwards.
However, Costa’s red card in the 28th minute changed the whole scenario and pushed Atletico to the backfoot. Griezmann became their lone forward, and Thomas was pushed to the right-back’s role after Arias, their regular right-back, also had to be taken off because of an injury.
Thomas was superb yet again last night but had to sacrifice his preferred position to cater to the team’s interest.