Barcelona dropped points for the third time in the last four games on Tuesday, drawing Atletico Madrid 2-2. The result sees Barca’s La Liga title challenge take another hit and boosts Real Madrid’s in the process. In a game that had three penalty-kick scores and an own goal, Lionel Messi got his 700th career goal, but it was two Saul Niguez penalty kicks that saw Barca take just one point from the clash against the third-place Colchoneros.
Barca was the sharper team in attack and created more chances, but sloppy challenges in defense ruined the much-needed result of the hosts. A win on Thursday for Real Madrid would see Zinedine Zidane’s team go four points clear atop the table with five games to go.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Real Madrid is in La Liga driver’s seat
Let’s be clear. Real Madrid is the favorite to win La Liga now. Sure, Los Blancos have just a one-point lead, but if that becomes four on Thursday as expected against Getafe, Barca is in big trouble. Barca has dropped six total points in the last four games, taking six out of a possible 12 points. That drop in form comes at the absolute worst time with five games remaining for the Catalan club. Chances wasted after chances wasted, amplified by conceding two penalty kicks.
Antoine Griezmann continues to be an afterthought
Remember all the fuss about Griezmann moving from Atleti to Barca over the summer? He’s become a non-factor as of late, starting just one of the last four games and scoring just one La Liga goal in 2020. That’s from 15 games. He doesn’t look super confident, he hasn’t fit in well with Messi and Luis Suarez, and while it’s early, who looks like the latest transfer miss for the club in attack.
Barca needs three points Sunday
You could say this was a must win, but if Real drops points on Thursday, Barca will still have a chance. Next Sunday’s game against red-hot Villarreal is a must-win match. Barca may just have to win out to win the league, but even that wouldn’t guarantee a title. The two conceded penalties are avoidable, and while they were costly in this game, they may also cost Barca the title.
Barcelona 2, Atletico Madrid 2 (FT)
⚽ Barcelona: Diego Costa OG (11′)
⚽ Atletico Madrid: Saul Niguez PK (19′)
⚽ Barcelona: Lionel Messi PK (50′)
⚽ Atletico Madrid: Saul Niguez PK (62′)
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After Messi scores a penalty kick for his 700th goal, Saul gets a penalty-kick goal after Carrasco goes down on the bench. Three penalties in this game. Ter Stegen should have saved it.
Messi gets No. 700!
Goal! Messi with a panenka-style penalty for his 700th goal! Barca takes the 2-1 lead!
Felipe knocks Semedo down with a kick, and a penalty is given. Looked a tad light as if maybe he didn’t even kick him, but it looks like it will stand.