Barcelona 2-2 Atlético Madrid: La Liga – as it happened

Rob Smyth on 30 June 2020

It’s another bad night for Barcelona, who have drawn three of their lost four games. Real Madrid are in control of the title race as a result, and will go four points clear if they beat Getafe on Thursday. Lionel Messi scored his 700th career goal - not counting the Rakuten Cup - but Saul Niguez equalised twice from the penalty spot to give Atletico a point they probably deserved.

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Full time: Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid

Peep peep!

90+4 min Lemar is booked for violating Ansu Fati on the left wing. This is Barcelona’s last chance.

90+3 min So nearly a winner for Atletico! A long ball found Lemar in the area; he was forced wide by ter Stegen and turned the ball back into the middle, where it was booted clear by a Barcelona defender. An Atletico player, Joao Felix I think, was waiting to score the winner.

90+1 min Thomas slashes a shot just wide from 25 yards. This game still feels very open.

90 min Four minutes.

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90 min A change for Barcelona: Vidal is replaced by Antoine Griezmann, who finally gets on the field against his former club.

89 min Semedo’s high, hanging cross is headed wide by Ansu Fati, who fouled Arias in the process.

89 min Barcelona really, really, really need a goal right now.

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88 min Thomas and Saul are such an impressive, indefatigable central-midfield pair. You and I could play centre-back behind them and still keep a few clean sheets.

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87 min Morata’s hopeful shot from the left side of the area is blocked by Semedo.

86 min Luis Suarez is still on the pitch, it says here. He’s been shocking, and we all know what happens next.

84 min Substitutions galore. First Atletico: Vitolo and Lemar replace Correa and the superb Carrasco, who was fouled for both penalties. Barcelona bring on Ansu Fati for Busquets.

83 min Lodi’s cross is brilliantly headed away by Lengelt, under considerable pressure from Morata at the near post.

81 min Messi’s inswinging free-kick is headed on and over the bar by Busquets in front of the near post. It was a difficult chance, a speculative flick-on as much as anything.

80 min Carrasco is booked for a foul on Messi, or maybe for the dissent that followed it. I’m not sure it was a foul.

77 min Morata replaces Diego Costa, who has had a busy night.

76 min Drinks break.

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75 min A brilliant cross from Jordi Alba is headed wide from five yards by Vidal. It was a majestic late run into the area from Vidal, but he was at full stretch and in mid-air when he made contact with the ball. It skimmed off his head and went wide of the far post. Diego Costa is booked for hoofing Puig in the build-up.

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73 min Joao Felix’s well-struck shot from the left edge of the area is comfortably held by ter Stegen.

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72 min Messi plays an excellent through ball towards Vidal, who gets caught in two minds and is tackled just outside the area. This match reeks of a glorious late winner from Messi.

71 min A fine effort from Vidal, who crashes a curling shot just wide from inside the D. It was set up by Semedo, who surged into the area and cut the ball back at the perfect pace for Vidal to hit first time.

69 min A change for Atletico: Joao Felix replaces the slightly disappointing Llorente.

69 min Pique appeals for a penalty after a challenge from behind by Gimenez. There wasn’t enough in it, though it was clumsy from Gimenez.

68 min Riqui Puig has had a fine game in midfield. He has a lovely lightness of touch to go with his youthful exuberance and work rate.

67 min What a strange game. We’ve had three penalties, four if you include the retake, and a unique own goal from Diego Costa.

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65 min Vidal is lucky not to be booked for a lunging foul on Diego Costa.

63 min Ivan Rakitic is replaced by Sergi Roberto.

GOAL! Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid (Saul 62 pen)

Saul scores his second penalty! He went the same way, low to the right - but this time ter Stegen went the right way and probably should have saved it. It slithered through his hands and in off the post.

Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez celebrates scoring his second penalty.
Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez celebrates scoring his second penalty. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

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61 min: PENALTY TO ATLETICO! It’s the third penalty of the game. Semedo fouled Carrasco, though I’m not sure he meant it. Semedo kneed Carrasco’s trailing leg onto his standing leg, which knocked him off balance and gave the referee little choice.

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61 min Messi is booked for kicking the ball away after the referee penalised him for a challenge on Lodi.

58 min Puig makes a superb off-the-ball run into the Atletico area. Messi almost picks him up with a delicious pass from the right wing, but it’s just too heavy and Puig can’t control it on the stretch.

56 min: Chance for Costa! That was so much better from Atletico. Arias played a give-and-go with Llorente on the right and drove an excellent cross towards Diego Costa. He towered over Vidal and planted a downward header just wide of the far post.

55 min Griezmann and Ansu Fati are warming up. If Fati replaces Luis Suarez, Twitter will eat itself.

54 min Barcelona have dominated the start of the second half. In the circumstances, this would be an excellent win. Despite all their problems, all the fiascos of the season, they could end up winning La Liga and the Champions League.

53 min “A cursory Google search revealed that Teddy Sheringham is the Premier League’s oldest goal scorer at 40 years and 266 days, for West Ham in December 2006,” says Matt Burtz. “There’s hope for me yet!”

Depends how many yards you can run in your head.

51 min Felipe, who has had an abysmal couple of minutes, is harshly booked for a sliding collision with Busquets.

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51 min Hang on, he’s scored 700 goals!

That was a delightful penalty, kissed softly into the net as Oblak dived to the left.

GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Messi 50 pen)

Lionel Messi scores the 700th goal of his career with the jauntiest of Panenkas!

Lionel Messi scores with a Panenka!
Lionel Messi scores with a Panenka! Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

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48 min: PENALTY TO BARCELONA! Felipe kicks the bottom of Semedo’s foot just inside the area, and the referee gives a penalty. I think it was a foul.

47 min “Rob, apparently the Pjanic-Arthur swap is a deal to make the books look good, as the always excellent Swiss Ramble explains,” says Alberto Tobias. “Barcelona already did something similar last year when they swapped goalkeepers with Valencia (Cilessen for Neto).”

Thanks, that’s interesting.

46 min Peep peep! Barcelona begin the second half.

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If it stays like this, Barcelona will be a point behind Real Madrid having played a game more. Madrid also have the head-to-head advantage.

“Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “Re: the Barcelona players in their 30s, I take your point, but as a man who is a month away from turning 39, please let me cling to the notion that I’m still plausibly young enough to be playing professional sports.”

Matt, there’s good news and bad news.

“What has happened to Jordi Alba?” says Charles Antaki. “He used to be a guaranteed source of runs and crosses from the left, and he’s been invisible in recent Barça games. Not that things are happening much on the right with Semedo; has the new(ish) manager turned his back on the currently fashionable wing-backery?”

Strange, isn’t it, especially given his link-up with Messi. And Barcelona are playing a diamond midfield tonight, which usually requires the full-backs to do 90 minutes of shuttle runs.

Half time: Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Peep peep! That was an enjoyable half of football, and the scoreline is about right. Diego Costa had a desperate five minutes, scoring a comedy own goal and having a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. But VAR spotted that ter Stegen was off his line, and Saul scored from the retake. Messi had been a menace at one end, Carrasco - who won the penalty - a big threat at the other. See you in 15 minutes for the second half.

45+3 min Carrasco charges at the backpedalling Barcelona defence and drives a fierce low shot that is blocked. The ball rebounds off Costa, possibly hitting his elbow, and is put behind for a corner. Thankfully for Barcelona and VAR protocol, nothing comes of the corner.

45+1 min “Do we talk enough about Messi’s passing?” says Stephen Carr. “It’s consistently, utterly brilliant.”

It feels like it has been recognised appropriately in the last couple of years, even if it is still sometimes overshadowed by his finishing and dribbling.

45 min Four added minutes.

42 min Messi’s deflected free-kick is slapped over the bar by Oblak, who had to change direction at the last minute. In the end it was a really good save.

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41 min Puig produces a lovely bit of skill to beat Partey, who responds by booting him up in the air 30 yards from goal. He’s lucky not to be booked for that. Messi may yet inflict an alternative punishment.

40 min Seven of this Barcelona starting XI are in their thirties. That’s all kinds of wrong.

39 min The young midfielder Riqui Puig has had a decent half, but that aside Messi has had very little support.

38 min “Suarez is playing?” sniffs Paul Fitzgerald.

He hasn’t been at his best.

35 min Saul is booked for a cynical foul on Messi, who has been a one-man attack for much of this half.

Saul Niguez takes down Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Saul Niguez takes down Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

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33 min A chance for Atletico. A low cross from the right, from Arias I think, found Llorente in space 10 yards from goal. He miscontrolled the ball, and Correa behind him couldn’t take the ball in his stride. Llorente’s was the big chance.

31 min Time for a drinks break.

30 min Messi sidefoots well wide from the edge of the box, an unusually poor effort.

28 min Messi beats the sliding Lodi with a delicious, disdainful scoop. This is a decent spell of pressure for Barcelona, with Atletico camped in their half for the first time in the match.

26 min Messi has looked really sharp so far.

24 min This is an excellent game, in no small part because of Atletico’s attacking intent.

22 min A spectacular effort from Messi, whose extravagant curler from the right edge of the box goes this far wide of the far post. In fact I think it brushed the outside of the post.

21 min “What are your thoughts on the Arthur/Pjanic swap deal?” says Kishalay Banerjee. “It didn’t look like Arthur underperformed enough to be exchanged for Pjanic, who himself is 30, and arguably, not a clear improvement either.”

I don’t see enough of Barcelona to comment with anything resembling authority, but I’ve liked Arthur whenever I’ve seen him. The swap is even harder to fathom given the average age of the Barcelona squad.

20 min Just to recap:

  • Diego Costa scored a comical own-goal to give Barcelona the lead
  • Diego Costa had a penalty saved by ter Stegen
  • VAR spotted that ter Stegen was off his line so the kick was retaken
  • Saul scored the second penalty

GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Saul 19 pen)

Saul scores, dragging a calm penalty into the bottom-right corner. ter Stegen went the wrong way.

Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez scores from the penalty spot.
Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez scores from the penalty spot. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

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18 min Pique has been booked for dissent.

17 min Ten Barcelona players are surrounding the referee. It looks like Saul is going to take the second penalty. This is chaos.

ter Stegen moved before the kick was taken, and VAR intervened.

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ter Stegen saves Diego Costa's penalty - but it's going to be retaken!

Oh, Diego. It was a poor penalty, hit fiercely but nowhere near the corner. ter Stegen dived to his left to block. But hang on, VAR has ordered it to be retaken!

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Carrasco stormed into the box from the left before cutting back inside Vidal, who dangled a leg and brought him down.

15 min: Penalty to Atletico! It was a clear foul, Vidal on Carrasco.

Messi’s inswinging corner beat Busquets and Thomas at the near post. Just behind them was Diego Costa, who ducked as if to head it away before realising it had dipped too much. He was unable to adjust his feet in time, and the ball hit the inside of his right thigh before deflecting behind his standing leg and past Oblak.

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GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Atletico Madrid (Diego Costa og 12)

Barcelona take the lead from the corner, and it was a masterful finish from Diego Costa!

Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa scores an own goal.
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa scores an own goal. Photograph: Lluís Gené/AFP/Getty Images

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11 min Free-kick to Barcelona on the right wing. Messi hammers it towards the near post, trying to catch Oblak out, and Diego Costa puts it behind for a corner. From which...

9 min Lodi’s sharp cutback almost finds Llorente eight yards from goal. Atletico have definitely come to play.

8 min Rakitic steals the ball off Thomas and rifles a low drive that is pushed away by the diving Oblak. Good save.

6 min: So close from Carrasco! Atletico almost take the lead. Carrasco’s wicked inswinging free-kick from the left beats everyone and bounces this far wide of the far post. Both Gimenez and Diego Costa almost got something on it six yards from goal; had they done so they would surely have scored.

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5 min It looks like Barcelona are playing with a diamond midfield, though Rakitic has started much deeper on the left than Vidal on the right. Riqui Puig is playing behind Messi and Suarez.

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3 min Lodi’s excellent deep cross from the left is poked behind by Alba, just in front of Llorente. The referee gives a goalkick. It was great defending from Alba, who had to stretch round Llorente to get to the ball.

3 min “Well done the Guardian photo editor!” says Charles Antaki, punching the air with a manic look in his eye. “Finally an appropriate use is found for the square-chunk Barça kit: nostalgia-inducement for lovers of Sprinter-train seat fabrics, 1985-1995. When new. The spilt coffee, bum-wear and general decrepitude tended to fade them pretty quickly.”

That timeline is a bit generous. I’m sure I sat on one last year.

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2 min After a good break from the youngster Riqui Puig, Suarez shoots straight at Oblak from 20 yards.

1 min Peep peep! Atletico, in red and white stripes, kick off from right to left. Barcelona are in red and blue.

The players emerge on a warm evening at the Nou Camp: 25 degrees, 83 per cent humidity, pressure 1013 mb.

Team news

Barcelona (possible 4-3-3) ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Puig; Messi, Suarez, Vidal.
Substitutes: Neto, Pena, Arthur, Braithwaite, Sergi Roberto, Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Griezmann, Collado, Ansu Fati, Araujo, Monchu.

Atletico Madrid (possible 4-4-2) Oblak; Arias, Felipe, Gimenez, Renan Lodi; Carrasco, Saul, Thomas, Correa; Llorente, Diego Costa.
Substitutes: Adan, Joao Felix, Lemar, Morata, Herrera, Saponjic, Vitolo, Hermoso, Trippier, Garcia, Sanchez, Sendra.

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Preamble

Feels like end times, doesn’t it? Not just for civilised society, but also Barcelona Football Club. If they don’t liven up quicksmart, they will finish a season without a trophy for the first time since the dark days of 2007-08. Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez are 33, Sergio Busquets turns 32 next month, Quique Setien is a walking P45 and there has been enough infighting to make Albert Square seem like idyll itself.

They could still finish the season as champions of Spain and Europe, so it’s not the end of the world just yet, but they have an uncomfortably good view from the precipice. That view will get even better if they fail to beat an Atletico Madrid side who have been in superb form since lockdown.

Barcelona’s geriatricos are two points behind the leaders Real Madrid, who play Getafe on Thursday, with six games remaining. Their home form has been almost faultless this season, with 15 wins out of 16 in the league. But home advantage ain’t what it used to be, and this match is fraught with peril for Barcelona. If this great team are going to enjoy one last dance, a defiant victory tonight - and maybe a 700th career goal for Messi - would be a good place to start.

Kick off 9pm BST, 10pm CEST.

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