Atletico Madrid did a classic number on Barcelona, beating Ronald Koeman’s side 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano thanks to Yannick Carrasco’s first-half stoppage time goal.
The hosts stifled the former La Liga champions, who struggled to create many chances against such a well-drilled, military style defence. The decisive goal came on the stroke of half-time, when a Marc-Andre ter Stegen clanger offered Carrasco the chance to fire into an empty net from distance – and he did not disappoint.
Barça then faced the daunting task of getting back on level terms against a Diego Simeone side, and they ultimately failed, forcing only four saves out of Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak. The win for the hosts puts them into second place, while the Catalan giants are languishing down in tenth.
Check out the player ratings from a typically shot-shy evening in Madrid.
Jan Oblak (GK) – 8/10 – Monster. Not forced into too many saves due to his incredible defence, but organisation starts from the back.
Stefan Savic (CB) – 7/10 – The lesser accomplished of the centre-backs tonight, but that’s no dig. A clean sheet is a clean sheet.
Jose Gimenez (CB) – 8/10 – Diego Godin’s younger clone. Loves to fight, head, tackle, kick, the works. The heartbeat of this backline.
Mario Hermoso (CB) – 7/10 – Another top performance. Keeping it tight against any Barça team is no mean feat, but this unit did its job.
Kieran Trippier (RWB) – 8/10 – This guy should be England’s best right-back. He’s trained by the best, and in a proper system, he stands out as an excellent defender with a wicked delivery.
Saul Niguez (CM) – 7/10 – Forced to dig in and leave his fancy skills at home. Always up for the battle.
Koke (CM) – 8/10 – Mr Atleti – Simeone’s man on the pitch. Takes pleasure in reducing the game to its most turgid but equally enjoyable form. He smells another title.
Marcos Llorente (CM) – 7/10 – The outlet in the midfield, that wasn’t really allowed out all too often. Tried to support the forwards when possible.
Yannick Carrasco (LWB) – 8/10 – Miles out from goal with just an empty net in front of you. How’s your nerve, son? Very good, as it turns out. Goal capped a great performance and typified his endeavour.
Angel Correa (ST) – 7/10 – A pest, and a defender’s nightmare. Never stopped running, unprepared to give his marker a second’s rest. It’s that attitude that forces errors.
Joao Felix (ST) – 6/10 – Less involved than in recent games, but added that sparkle to a team which looks like it’s been through the wash one too many times.
Diego Costa (ST) – 6/10
Thomas Lemar (LWB) – N/A
Geoffrey Kondogbia (CM) – N/A
Felipe (CB) – N/A
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 4/10 – YOU HAD ONE JOB BIG MAN! STAY IN YOUR GOAL! Crazy decision making, caught miles out at sea. Decided the match.
Sergi Roberto (RB) – 7/10 – Not a bad performance, really. Caught out down his flank for the goal, but not really his fault, was it?
Gerard Pique (CB) – 6/10 – Not his best display, although we rarely see one nowadays. Limped off with a nasty looking injury.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 7/10 – The better of the two central defenders, Lenglet may be on his own next time he takes to the field.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 6/10 – Best days are well behind him. Not as potent going forward and misses his connection with Mr Messi.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 6/10 – Not the worst on the pitch today, but by no means the best. Will feel unfortunate to have been hooked ahead of some others.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 6/10 – Still not quite finding his feet in this team, and looks short of confidence and swagger – an absolutely no-no when you play for this club.
Lionel Messi (CAM) – 7/10 – If you come to realise you’re the smartest person in the room – you’re in the wrong room. Messi has realised this, but someone has already locked the door and swallowed the key. Trapped in a sea of averageness.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – 6/10 – The better and more unpredictable of the forward line, and survived the substitute culling. Dribbled like the baller he is and tried to win it on his own. Barça want to tie him down… good luck.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – 5/10 – I bet he really wanted to win this one, eh? Shame he played like he was still the main man in red and white. “Fancy having me back, lads?” Subbed.
Pedri (LW) – 5/10 – Inexperienced and it showed against the might of Trippier, the newly crowned greatest right-back in history. Subbed.
Philippe Coutinho (LW) – 6/10
Sergino Dest (RB) – 6/10
Trincao (RW) – N/A
Martin Braithwaite (ST) – N/A