Atletico Madrid have always been a tough opponent for Barcelona. Even if they lose, they would make the Catalans sweat. At the Wanda Metropolitano, Barca visited with the hope to bag full pints, but they ended up with eggs on the face.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid exchanged intriguing bouts of possession in the opening stages of the game as Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez attempted to open the scoring at either end of the pitch.
Griezmann stabbed his volley just over before Ter Stegen dived away to his right to make a smart save from Saul Niguez’s 20-yard drive.
DON'T STOP THE COUNT!
Atleti are now unbeaten in the last 𝟮𝟰 @LaLigaEN games 🤩
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) November 21, 2020
Marcos Llorente came closest to an early breakthrough but blasted against the crossbar.
Atletico Madrid were marginally the better team in the first half-hour and nearly opened the scoring after Marcos Llorente struck the upright after an excellent run into Barcelona’s penalty area.
Barcelona did grow into the game on a few occasions with Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi pulling the strings in the midfield. The Barcelona captain had an excellent chance to open the scoring for the Catalans but failed to beat Jan Oblak from a tight angle.
Atleti started the second half in excellent fashion and held the ball against a Barcelona side that was struggling to create chances. Clement Lenglet nearly scored for the Catalans after getting his head to an excellent Lionel Messi cross but directed his header straight to Jan Oblak.
Where was Ter Stegen going?😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Fzq3XhqLUT
— Ali 🇬🇭🇳🇬 (@TheBeardedRauI) November 21, 2020
A nutmeg at the other end proved far more costly on the stroke of half-time, however, as Carrasco nudged the ball beyond Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, who had inexplicably charged 40 yards from his goal to leave the Atletico winger with a straightforward finish into an empty net.
Barcelona were poor with their forward passing and were far too predictable in the final third.
Simeone kept his midfield tight and did not let Barca advance further, while the back was like a wall.
Diego Simeone's record against Barcelona in LaLiga:
He FINALLY secures his first ever league win over Barca. pic.twitter.com/GpxlWkqpkH
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 21, 2020
Jose Gimenez was given the unenviable task of keeping Lionel Messi quiet and was largely able to meet his manager’s expectations. He was the leader at the back and Stefan Savic was the major driving force behind Atletico Madrid’s clean sheet against Barcelona. The defender did not put a foot wrong and was composed against the Barca frontline.
On the right-flank, Kieran Trippier exploited Jordi Alba’s movement with consummate ease. The English defender nearly bagged an assist on a few occasions and had one of his best games last night.
At the center of the park, Saul Niguez, Koke, Marcos Llorente, and Yannick Carassco dominated the preceding.
Joint-top of La Liga. 24 league games unbeaten.
Atletico Madrid mean business 💪 pic.twitter.com/HpzaEVWvVp
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 21, 2020
Niguez was the leader on the pitch and dictated the flow of the game. He built a wonderful partnership with Koke and choked the Barca midfield. On the left, Carrasco was a threat while on the right consistently pushed up the pitch to exploit the space vacated by Barcelona’s Jordi Alba.
Nevertheless, Joao Felix was the heartbeat of Atleti last night. He was exceptional with his transitions and gave Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique a torrid time throughout the game.
Barcelona right now pic.twitter.com/YgNCn3T1sR
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) November 22, 2020
Barcelona had no answer to the compactness of Simeone.
Atletico Madrid beat Barcelona in La Liga for the first time since February 2010.
Barcelona have just 11 points after eight La Liga games this season (W3 D2 L3), their worst start at this stage since 1991-92!