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Lionel Messi’s gorgeous 600th career goal fortified Barcelona’s lead at the top to 8 points and forced Atletico Madrid to stop chasing the impossible dream for the time being. His goal helped them to a 1-0 victory. Much to everyone’s expectations, Barcelona enjoyed more possession and Atleti were satisfied by defending deep and in an organised manner.
Coutinho was the first player to force a save from Oblak before Messi struck the frame of the goal. A few minutes later, the latter was brought down by Thomas Partey, and what happened next, was history. The Argentine dispatched the 25-yard free-kick in some style. La Liga’s most in-form player – Antoine Griezmann, had a clear sight of the goal in the 75th minute but a poor finish let him down.
Luis Suarez scored but was flagged offside. On an overall note, Barcelona will breathe a huge sigh of relief after the victory.
Made the routine stops in the second half, distributed the ball superbly, but was a mere spectator in the first period of the game.
Roberto was fully aware of the space behind him and never failed to impress. He played smartly, in fits and starts, and charged forward on odd occasions.
Great positional awareness, was always at the right place, at the right time. Kept Diego Costa in check and used his all his muscle to hold off the forward.
Paired well with Pique, won headers and was a towering presence. Most importantly, kept Griezmann under wraps.
Yet again, helped Messi and continued the rich understanding between them. Defensively, he was outstanding.
Worked hard all game, added a strong defensive cover, broke attacks early on and was crafty with his passing.
Busquets sat back, kept the play ticking and protected his defence. He plugged the gaps in the midfield and supported the forward play to a notable extent. One volley of his was intimidating too. A sanitised, disciplined performance.
Looked more comfortable down the right this time around, tested the opposition keeper and found his way past defenders with utmost ease. Coutinho injected creativity along with Messi.
One heck of a smart performance was cut short by an injury.
Scored his 5th free-kick of the calendar year and third in as many games. He drove forward, made defenders look like practice cones and completed his moves smoothly and swiftly. Showed why he is the greatest of all time, by stepping up in a mini title decider.
Worked his socks off, fought till the very last whistle and pressed well. Unfortunately, scored an offside goal. He exchanged fine passes with Messi.
Did alright throughout the game but a couple of mistakes let his performance down drastically. He surrendered possession cheaply.
Played too little to be judged.