Lionel Messi scored deep into the second half as Barcelona defeated Atletico Madrid by 2-1 to go top of the La Liga ahead of Real Madrid’s match against Villarreal on Sunday.
Needing a win at all cost to keep their slim of the title alive, Atletico began strongly with Yannick Carrasco, Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann all going close. However, the home team failed to capitalise on the strong start as Barcelona soon found their rhythm and came close on several occasions towards the end of first-half. Jan Oblak, playing his first game this year after recovering from an injury, made a number of brilliant saves, in particular from a Messi free kick to help his team walk into the break without conceding a goal.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 64th minute when Rafinha found the back of the net after the home team failed to clear the ball from the box. But the lead was short-lived as Godin hit the equaliser six minutes later, heading home from a Koke cross. Atletico were looking destined to walk away with a precious point until Messi poked home from close range in the 86th minute to help his team bag all the three points.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the match:
— Lord Mid-Fing Jr. ? (@AdotHaddad) February 26, 2017
Without Lionel Messi Barca would've been 7th in the table below Eibar. When this man retires we'll win the league in March.
— Iscoholic (@Iscoholic) February 26, 2017
Godin is such a big game player. Always seems to pop up with a goal against Barcelona
— ReviewFootball (@ReviewFootball) February 26, 2017
What would Barcelona be doing right now without Messi existence? Playing Levante in Segunda Division.
— Cristo Silva (@CRIsilver1027) February 26, 2017
Diego Godín's goal at Camp Nou on the last day of the 2013-14 season denied Barcelona the title. How important could this one be?
— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) February 26, 2017
The idea of a 3-4-3 was great, but there's just no execution. Iniesta is getting bullied by Koke and Gabi. Only the CBs are free to pass.
— Renato Gonçalves (@renatodsg) February 26, 2017
Let me just break down the logic of that for you. Barcelona have three top forwards, aged 25, 29 and 30. The 30 year old is an inconsistent
— Darryl (@LordMoloch) February 26, 2017
Neymar doing what he has (oddly unnoticed by many) done for much of this season. Barcelona's best player today.
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) February 26, 2017
— BoomXhakaLaca (@ItsMrArsenal) February 26, 2017
Lionel Messi: Has now scored 27 goals against Atlético Madrid, he has not scored more against any other team he has faced #atletifcb
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 26, 2017