Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid: 5 Hits and Flops as Lionel Messi's 700th goal fails to inspire Catalans to victory | La Liga 2019-20
- Barcelona handed further impetus to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the title race with a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou.
- Lionel Messi scored the 700th goal of his career but a questionable decision in the second half resulted in Atletico Madrid's equaliser.
Barcelona bottled the lead on two separate occasions for the second consecutive match as Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid held the Catalans to a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou earlier today. Barcelona was the better side for most of the match but two Saul Niguez penalties snatched two crucial points from Quique Setien's side.
Lionel Messi reached yet another milestone and scored his 700th goal with a beautiful 'panenka' penalty against one of the best goalkeepers in the world. However, a debatable decision from the referee in the second half spoiled the party for the Catalans as Atletico Madrid came away from the fixture with a point.
The first thirty minutes witnessed some of the most fluid football you will ever see between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Barcelona opened the scoring after Lionel Messi corner took a massive deflection from Diego Costa and gave the Catalans the lead.
Yannick Carrasco won a penalty for Diego Simeone's side after a rash tackle from Barcelona's Arturo Vidal. Diego Costa's attempt was thwarted by Ter Stegen but the Barcelona goalkeeper came off his line to make the save and Saul Niguez made no mistake with Atletico Madrid's second attempt.
Lionel Messi and Riqui Puig had some bright moments but were unable to unlock Atletico Madrid's defensive structure. Barcelona looked frustrated after the equaliser while its opponents regrouped and presented a united front for the rest of the first half.
Barcelona came on to the pitch with a renewed sense of purpose in the second half. The Catalans won a penalty after Felipe fouled Nelson Semedo after the full-back was released by Luis Suarez. Barcelona captain Lionel Messi stepped up to score his 700th goal with a wonderful 'panenka' chip to leave Jan Oblak stranded.
The tide would turn yet again as Nelson Semedo gave away a controversial penalty at the other end with the slightest of touches on Yannick Carrasco. Saul Niguez scored his second penalty of the match with a shot that narrowly escaped Ter Stegen's grasp.
The Blaugrana struggled to break down a well-drilled Diego Simeone outfit for the remainder of the fixture and will be bitterly disappointed with the result. While some players from both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid shone for their sides today, some others did not particularly cover themselves in glory.
#1 Flop - Arturo Vidal, Barcelona
Arturo Vidal had yet another underwhelming outing for Barcelona today. The Chilean midfielder struggled with his first touch and his inability to bring the ball under control in the midfield cost Barcelona on several occasions.
The former Juventus star threw away Barcelona's lead with a horribly mistimed tackle on Yannick Carrasco minutes after the Catalans had gone ahead. The Barcelona midfielder also gave away several unnecessary fouls and was tormented by Yannick Carrasco on the right flank.
Vidal was energetic as usual and did try his best in the final third but failed to make the most of the three chances that came his way in the second half. For a midfielder whose primary attribute is his goalscoring touch, Arturo Vidal must do better.
#2 Hit - Yannick Carrasco, Atletico Madrid
Yannick Carrasco was arguably the best Atletico Madrid player on the pitch today. The Belgian midfielder sprung into action after Barcelona's first goal and massacred Gerard Pique for pace on a blistering counter-attack. The pacy winger cleverly drew a foul from Arturo Vidal to gift Atletico Madrid the first penalty.
Carrasco also won a dubious penalty for his side in the second half after a feather of a glance from Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo. The winger linked up well with Renan Lodi and was a constant source of worry for Barcelona's defenders.
Yannick Carrasco also had the unenviable job of tracking back to keep tabs on Lionel Messi. The Atletico Madrid star held his own against the Argentine genius and deserves plenty of appreciation for his performance.
#3 Flop - Luis Suarez, Barcelona
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez was thoroughly suffocated by his compatriot Jose Gimenez today and failed to make an impact throughout the match. The Uruguayan striker did show signs of good form with his two goals against Celta Vigo but cut a lonely figure as Barcelona's spearhead.
Luis Suarez has been severely under par since the restart of the La Liga season and questions will be asked of his inclusion in the starting eleven. The former Liverpool striker seems to be a shadow of his former self and failed to trouble Atletico Madrid today.
Barcelona's Uruguayan star kept Antoine Griezmann on the bench today but never looked like scoring a goal himself. With most of Barcelona's attacks coming through Lionel Messi, Suarez lost the ball on numerous occasions and put in a dismal performance.
#4 Hit - Riqui Puig, Barcelona
Riqui Puig started his second consecutive game for Barcelona and was the best midfielder for the Catalans yet again. The young La Masia prospect has been showing plenty of promise since the restart of the La Liga season and will hope to keep his place on the starting lineup.
The young Catalan starlet displayed a sound understanding of Barcelona's philosophy and Messi-like dribbling skills on a few occasions. Riqui Puig is a breath of fresh air in this relatively stale Barcelona side and Quique Setien will do well to give him as many chances as possible.
The Barcelona youngster constantly found space between Atletico Madrid's rigid lines and gave Thomas Partey a tough time with his energy and tenacity. With La Liga slipping away from Barcelona's hands, Riqui Puig may well be the only bright spot in Barcelona's season.
#5 Flop - Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
Diego Costa was given the nod over Alvaro Morata against Barcelona at the Camp Nou and the experienced striker did nothing to justify his selection. The tenacious forward found himself in an awkward position while defending a Lionel Messi corner early in the game and gifted Barcelona the lead on a silver platter with an own goal.
A brilliant run from Yannick Carrasco gave Atletico Madrid a golden opportunity to score the equaliser but Diego Costa scuffed his penalty straight into the hands of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Luckily for Diego Simeone's side, the Barcelona goalkeeper was adjudged to have come off his line and Saul Niguez showed his teammate how it's done with the second attempt.
Costa also had an excellent opportunity to give Atletico Madrid the lead in the second half. The striker did well to rise above Arturo Vidal and get his head to a Santiago Arias crossed but was not able to direct his shot towards Barcelona's goal.
Atletico Madrid looked much more threatening during Alvaro Morata's short stint on the pitch and Diego Simeone will have plenty to think about with regard to his star striker.
Published 01 Jul 2020, 04:21 IST