La Liga: Atlético 1 – 2 Barcelona

Despite strong second half Atlético lose to brilliant Messi goal

Courtois saves a free kick by Xavibut would later be beaten by Messi (Marca)

Courtois saves a free kick by Xavi
but would later be beaten by Messi (Marca)

Ten games into his new Atleti career, Diego Simeone has finally suffered his first defeat.

The reigning champions of Spain, Europe and the world came to Madrid and beat us due to the brilliance of a certain Argentine.

Atlético played a good second half against Barcelona, but a magnificent goal by Lionel Messi decided the tie late on.

Diego Simeone didn’t hold back and played his strongest XI available, although Atleti did take a defensive approach to the game.

In the second minute there was a first scare for Atleti, when a shot by Xavi bounced just past the post. Just minutes later the fans at the Vicente Calderón breathed a massive sigh of relief as an early goal by Lionel Messi was disallowed because of a handball.

Atleti leaned back but were also threatening. Adrián arrived just too late when Víctor Valdés spilled a ball and Falcao was flagged offside after a clever backheel by Arda.

A beautifully struck free kick by Xavi was saved spectacularly by Thibaut Courtois.

Barcelona weren’t firing on all cylinders like they have in the past, but they controlled the game and took the lead after half an hour. Lionel Messi reached Fabregas on the left wing, who played a one touch pass for Dani Alves to slot into the back of the net.

Forced to crawl out of their shell, Atleti immediately responded, but Falcao arrived just too late for a cross.

At half time Diego Simeone must have inspired his men, because Atleti came out of the dressing room with attacking intent and forced a corner through Adrián. The ball was flicked on at the near post and Radamel Falcao latched onto it at the far post to volley home the equaliser.

The home crowd had been rocking all night and exploded when El Tigre struck for the 20th time this season.

After a ball had been played over the top for Falcao, the Colombian was flagged offside. Replays showed the linesman was wrong and Atleti were robbed off a clear cut chance to take the lead.

Atlético took over control of the match in the second half with Adrián as our catalyst. Miranda had a free chance from a corner, but couldn’t keep his header down.

At the other end Alexis couldn’t direct a header towards goal at all.

After Falcao won an aerial challenge against both Mascherano and Abidal, but was then stopped as Valdés rushed out of his goal. The ball came back into play and Puyol had to save Koke’s attempt off the goalline.

The linesman on Valdés’ side was in poor form tonight, as he made another wrong offside call going against Atleti, while Adrián was on by a clear margin.

Ten minutes before the end Atlético were caught sleeping. Lionel Messi asked the referee to take a free kick quickly and while Atleti were still organizing the wall, the Argentine hit the ball beautifully into the topcorner to make it 2-1.

Messi repeated his trick from our game at the Camp Nou in 2009 to score his 15th league goal versus Atleti, five more than against any other La Liga side.

There was a late chance for Diego Godín, but Valdés did well to rush out and stop the Uruguayan’s shot. A handball by Busquets had preceded the opportunity, but both the linesman and referee had missed the incident.

Far into the added time Gabi almost scored a heroic goal, but Valdés somehow managed to keep it out as Barcelona kept the score at 2-1.

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Koke (“77 Salvio), Gabi, Tiago, Arda (“86 Sílvio); Adrián and Falcao.

Goals: 0-1 Alves (“36); 1-1 Falcao (“49); 1-2 Messi (“81)

  • Edletico

    It wasn’t brilliance from Messi, it was cheating from the ref. Also it was Juanfran who had the late chance not Godin

  • Lubo

    That wasn’t brilliant goal by Messi. He showed the world how little this cheater is. Calderón was robbed by the refs today and actually this match makes me love my Atleti even more.

  • shlomgar

    Someone wants to give Barca a chance at the title. Not on our back please, anyone could see which team was better today. Atletico stood brilliantly throughout the game and were more offensive then this article claims.
    Very sad day for football. And for Barca, this is no way to win a match.

  • SoLobo

    Why does one team have to fuck my favorite sport???

  • Javi Lozoya

    Despite the lost, Atleti showed the world of his greatness and how we complicated things for Barcelona. You couldn’t ask for anything more from the guys, too bad the ref only wanted to see what he felt like. Horrible refereeing. But don’t blame it only Barcelona. Madrid also gets help from the refs. Blame it on the LFP for being so mediocre and only care about the clubs that are rich like Barça and Madrid. Del Nido is so right, La Liga is shit.

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    I like Simeone’s post-game comments:

    For those who doesn’t speak Spanish:

    “The refs did a great job…except for the Busquets handball or Alves’ play.”

    “The team played the way it wanted to play. It did not turn out the way we wanted because of a brilliant goal by Messi.”

  • ratchet

    Messi’s goal was shocking. blarrnt cheating by the ref. im frustrated, but we gained more than the 3 points we should have had. In my eyes, we won the game. too bad the ref has to fuck things up. we can gain many positives from this. We were better, but the league is corrupt, and makes sure barca wins. seriously, other than put the ball in the net for them the ref couldnt have helped more. Then there was that handball, and dont forget the two “offsides”, and we still almost drew. Lets go kick sevilla’s ass and start climbing back up the table. We are just 3 points away from 4th. on a negative note, we are eighth in the table. im sure that will change.

  • Javi Lozoya
  • Tackle_Hard

    Oh so now even the refs want barca to lift la liga. What a shame.
    The match was not that exciting.None of the sides played well, but we did a better job at stopping catalonian attack, thanks to some nice energetic defending.
    This is the second time I saw Leonel Messi do that (on Xavi’s cue this time), its the refree’s fault (not Courtois’s) who should have stood up and cancelled the goal.
    Arda is still under-performing.I do hope a more holding play from midfielders.
    Aupa atleti!!

  • seamonkey

    Am I the only one that is upset about the 2on 1 that was killed for a phantom offsdides in the second half?

    I’ve never been so upset with officiating–and I’m the guy who usually says “it’s part of the game”, but this was disgusting.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I don’t think the league is corrupt Ratchet, is just shit. Madrid and Barça are always favored by the refs. And it’s always gonna be like that until all other clubs unite. Now I agree they’re both alike. They both complain and cry against refereeing and what do they get in return?, the refs on their side. La Liga is just bullshit, and it’s not only Atletico who’s been affected by poor refereeing, other clubs too, and like I said before all teams except Barcelona and Madrid must unite to make La Liga better, equally and fair.

  • Urban
  • Mais

    agree that Arda looked a bit weary at times, but he had great moments as well, if this is significant underperformance by him i cant wait to see him at 100%

    agree with the rest of the above..i cant understand how messis goal was justified..thought it was sad that after enduring the last month of barca bemoaning ref decisions that they wud put it to their advantage so blatantly tonight

  • Mais

    well said urban

  • Tackle_Hard

    @seamonkey you are not the only one. Such linesmen take fun out of the game.
    Anyways, lets forget this and kick sevilla’s ass to get that Champions league spot we have been missing for some time.

  • Tackle_Hard

    @Urban Second on that!!

  • ratchet

    In england, the ref would probably be demoted to league 1, and barca would be punished. It was so bad the league should take 2 points off barca and add 1 to atletico. But they wont. Everyone says in england how the other clubs are so far behing barca and real, but is it any surprise when you have a ref who clearly favours barca. Its not fair. Im not really used to things like this as ive only been an atleti fan since last season started, but im positive its happened before. I agree urban. they do seem to have more men on the pitch. I expected a loss so im not annoyed by that, its because barca cheated to win that annoys me. I think the same sort of thing will happen against real. But please, dont say it was a brilliant goal cos it wasnt.

  • Mais

    ratchet, just pray that iturralde doesnt ref the derby, cuz we can say goodbye to those points now if he does

    and ur right it has happened before, as much as the barca empire would like everyone to believe otherwise

  • shlomgar

    Let’s try to slowly forget about it, we have greater worries. We are getting into a good period with our club and I wish it would start to show in the league. I don’t see a lot of mistakes in lineup as at the start of the season, the team is a league leader in style and in intensity. At this form we can win against any side!

    We are close to 3rd spot and to 13th and that is alarming!

    Aupa Atleti! Forever keep on putting peddle to the metal…

  • Tackle_Hard

    @ratchet I like the way barca won today. Had they outplayed us and then clinically scored that goal, I would have considered it a setback. But the desperation on their side to take a free kick like that was brought upon by us, we will balance them out next time dont worry.

  • Javi Lozoya

    The EPL is the best league without a doubt, although some teams get favored too, anyways. Guys don’t blame it solely on Barcelona, sure they get favored, but what about the refs?. They’re so mediocre, and are the ones who should be blamed. Referees in Spain suck, and then again is the LFP who’s responsible for such a mediocre league overall, with poor refereeing, poor television rights distribution, etc…, it’s still gonna be all about Barça and Madrid until all clubs unite together and take a stand.

  • Mais

    Javi L the refs are seriously to blame, but its highly questionable when statements made by FCB’s pres/coach/players lead to their next matches swayed in their favour unjustly, as we have seen recently

    neither party exists in a vacuum, but when the club takes part it is inexcusable hypocrisy

  • SoLobo

    Human as a race is used to be treated unfair. We always moan but never do anything. We learn to do so from the time we are born. Doesn’t that have to change? And about spanish football, the only solution I can see, is what Javi Lozoya says. At last! Something has to be done!

  • palc

    It was a valid goal. Referee gave permission. According to the rulebook ref doesn’t even need to give permission. It was our fault we did not set up that wall quick enough. Might have been a bad idea Courtois “communicating” to Arda the placement of the wall. Neither have a language in common.

  • Javi Lozoya

    It is, but I insist, the LFP should be held responsible for it.
    Barcelona and Madrid hypocrisy is both outrageous. This incident can’t be forgotten, or else it’s gonna be same thing. Every time we face Barca or Madrid, we’re gonna be disfavored by the refs. Like most of y’all, I’m tired of this favoritism over Barca and Madrid, and if we want it to end we need to do something.

  • Javi Lozoya, basically this is a website with the initiative of rising awareness between all clubs to unite and fight for equal TV rights between all La Liga teams except Madrid and Barca. It’s pretty cool and a whole bunch of sites including penas, blogs, forums, etc… from different teams have joined the initiative. Bad thing is in Spanish.

  • Mais

    that would be a great endeavor to promote, maybe contact can be made to encourage english updates?

  • Arjit

    Anybody else realize that we dont have falcao against sevilla?

  • Javi Lozoya

    Good idea Mais. You can indeed contact them. I’ll write them and see what they think about a possible English translation and stuff,’cause there’s a LOT of English blogs about Spanish teams and I’m sure they all want to help.

  • Javi Lozoya

    @Arjit, yea, sucks Falcao is out against Sevilla. I wonder who’s gonna replace him. Perhaps Pizzi or Pedro, I hope is Pedro since we’re not gonna sign Pizzi, that way we can get Pedro ready for next season. And it’s been said that Simeone likes Pedro, so hope he gives him a chance.

  • Javi

    Today atleti-the clear better team- played against a barsa that has seen its better days and Now resorts to trickery and help from lfp to win games.
    It was clear that if barsa lost tonight tv revenues from china and other countries would diminish because RM would have won the league tonight. So although we played better and we won the game, we had to loose because this game since this league is not about FairPlay but it is about the revenue those two teams bring and about not allowing any other team, irrespective of merit, to change that money making structure.
    If I was messi, “the best player in the world”, I would be ashamed of beating a superior team with such bullshit
    When they beat us 5-0 it was by clear superiority, today it was handed to them. I am proud of my team who was the better team, and I am totally disgusted by Villar and the cronies that allow this to happen
    I hope Athletic kills them in the cup
    P.S. Guardiola is taking Mikan’s 20€M net and leaving the shit because he knows its over

  • Seamonkey

    I reallythought i tie was in order. Alves looked to be offisdes on the goal but that was a deserved goal. Now, the offsides that killed a 2 vs keeper for Atleti was a killer. Having said all that– the horrible officiating culminating in that cheap/illegal//unsporting free kick was embarassing. Btw, the “foul” that allowed the free kick was egregious to say the least. I was prepared for a loss, but not prepared to has a victory stolen from us.

  • Seamonkey

    All good btw. We know where we stand. We know we can beat them. Lets just. Get to CL.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Long time no see Javi!:)

  • starvs

    And this was all without Diego, who is sort of good at soccer.

    Real shitty how this ultimately went down, real bogus offsides. Javi dropping knowledge on that unfortunate truth of it.

    This team is certainly good enough to finish 4th and win EL, although depth may be an issue.

    Cholo is the truth and good things are too come I think; until the board fucks it up in, hopefully at least in a new and creative fashion.

  • leika

    Referees favour Barca also in CL. It’s better for Uefa that a big club wins and gets to the finals because of the commercial stuff and all the money that comes from their fans and TV companies. Seeing Barca vs Madrid in final is ”commercially” more attractive than etc. Moskva CSK vs Olympiakos. Every decision that slightly helps Barca is enough for them.
    I’m glad we fought well today.

  • Javi Lozoya

    We’re not in Champions…

  • ratchet

    i agree, its cheap, nasty and dirty. But we know who was the better side and im proud for it.

  • We all know who was the better side without a doubt because the referees cheated. We were given two offsides when there shouldn’t have been and when Busquets handled the ball. Besides, so we lose won we’re gonna win the rest………hopefully.
    Aupa Atleti!!!!!!!

  • Messi wasnt brilliant he (and Barcelona) were more like shitilliant. Anyways we have another big clash next week against Sevilla.They should be a tough opponent because they had beaten Valencia away from home and they are the so called ‘lucky ones’. Well looking forward to that game.

  • shlomgar

    Barca killers!!! Great game overall for the team spirit. Can’t wait for derby day!

  • falcao

    great game Atleticos especially in second half but we were robbed two offsides wich are not exist and hand from Busquets…really embarasing from judges
    but we have shown that we can beat Barcelona…

  • AaX

    WHAT LOST ??!! Have WE not FORCE the so called distinguished opponent+s(ass) to commit a dishonourable fabricated resort? Deep think on it!!

  • AaX

    We WILL WIN the battle of the WAR (GOD WILLING)!

  • k14

    What book are you talking about palc ?
    They didn’t take the foul early and pass it, instead it was a direct shot on goal while the ref was keeping our wall busy and never whistled.

    Bad calls all game long that not only robbed 3 points of us, but saved those scum barca a trashing.

    Incase you missed it, when Arda made the cut pass to Falcao that was stoped by valdes and macherano, not only it was a potential penalty for the violence committed but also for the handball on macherano.

    Once again, La Liga and football in general shows that they have no connection to the term “Sports” anymore.

  • ratchet

    Thats the reason we lost. We will gain more pyshcologically than barca. im really frustrated at the referees. hopefully we can build on this

  • ratchet

    i count 2 offsides where we were well in the clear, maybe more, 2clear penalties. We would have won this about 5-2, if you count messi’s free lick that never should have stood. If we play like that every match, within a few seasons we would be challenging for la liga

  • shlomgar

    Ratchet I wish you are right but Atletico is not a club who runs with players long enough to form a legacy or a strong skeleton of players. Maybe now Cholo will change things around….
    I think if Diego knows what good for him he’ll stay, only other place for him in europe is Bremen maybe. Thing is el Tigre will probably go, Godin and Felipe as well. Same old story…

  • ratchet

    I dont think falcao godin or felipe will go. Ive got a feeling that glory days may be ahead…

  • javi

    k14, I saw that penalty as well, Valdes did not even touch the ball, he tackled our forward causing a penalty not called, and then machserano touched the ball with his hand, as second penalty not called.

  • Edletico

    Same ratchet, if we have a little bit of inbestment plus sell a few players then hopefully cholo and Caminero can build a strong team