La Liga: Atlético 0 – 1 Barcelona

Barcelona crowned champions of La Liga at the Vicente Calderón

Messi fires in the clincher

Messi fires in the clincher

Barcelona were confirmed champions of La Liga on Sunday evening as Atlético slumped to a 1-0 defeat and lost their crown at the Vicente Calderón.

Atleti started on top, and the opening part of the match saw the La Liga champions put pressure on this year’s probable winners.

Some great interplay from Griezmann and Siqueira almost opened up Barcelona in the opening seven minutes. A cheeky backheel almost gave our Frenchman some space, but the ball was shepherded out of play.

Atleti almost scored from the resulting corner kick too. A flick off the back of Giménez sent the ball looping up and over into the back of the net but Claudio Bravo did well to hook the ball away.

Bravo pulled off another reflex save a couple of minutes later after Griezmann hit a volley inside the eighteen yard box, however the assistant’s flag was up anyway for offside.

It wasn’t too long before Barcelona had their first chance, and it was Lionel Messi with a shot on the edge of the box after some link-up play between Neymar and Iniesta. The Argentinean’s shot was straight down the throat of Jan Oblak and didn’t cause too many problems.

After this, Barcelona came more into the match and Messi had another two attempts at the Atlético goal. The visitors should perhaps have had a penalty after Juanfran handled the ball in his own area, but it wasn’t seen by the officials.

There was a louder shout for a penalty on the half-hour mark, but this one did result in a decision. Simulation on the part of Dani Alves, after the Brazilian dived forward as soon as he crossed the threshold into the Atleti box, under no pressure from Godín.

Yellow card for diving, but a free kick given for a tug of Alves’ shirt outside the area. Strangely sensible refereeing.

The resulting Messi free kick grazed the top of the crossbar after he fizzed one in, and out for an Oblak goal kick.

It was Dani Alves who nearly redeemed himself just before half-time, as the right-back fired a shot from distance to test Oblak. It was dipping just under the Slovenian’s crossbar but a firm hand from the Atlético goalkeeper pushed it over the crossbar.

Torres had an opportunity for Atleti in the opening throws of the second half, but couldn’t get enough behind the shot to trouble Claudio Bravo.

As the game approached the hour mark, word had filtered through to the Vicente Calderón that Real Madrid had taken the lead away at Espanyol. To clinch the title, Barcelona needed to either win or match the Real Madrid result.

The Barca players knew this and were fighting for every ball. Gabi got into a bit of trouble for deliberately tripping Neymar as the Blaugrana surged forward.

The Barcelona goal was to come, and it was Lionel Messi that gave Luis Enrique’s men the lead at the Vicente Calderón. The Argentinean, after sensing that Cristiano Ronaldo had scored, played a one-two with Pedro inside the Atlético box before slotting it into the bottom corner of Jan Oblak’s net.

The visitors had the chance to make it 2-0 just a few minutes later but a through ball from Messi to Neymar set the Brazilian up to sky a shot well over the crossbar.

Atleti made moves to get back into the game, driven by their desire to clinch third place. Mandzukic came on to replace Arda Turan and instantly caught Busquets in possession. However the referee saw something he didn’t like and blew for a foul.

Pedro almost made it two with 14 minutes to go. He sidestepped both Giménez and Gabi before curling a strike just wide of the Atlético post.

Siqueira had an optimistic attempt from distance that troubled Claudio Bravo, and the goalkeeper was made to tip it over for a corner.

As the final minutes of the game ticked down, Barcelona were on course to become champions. Real Madrid needed a favour from their arch-rivals but Los Rojiblancos won’t be too disappointed that they didn’t get the goal that would deny Barcelona the La Liga title.

Messi had the chance to put it beyond doubt with a free kick in the closing minute, but a spectacular save from Jan Oblak was enough to delay the celebrations, if only for a couple of minutes.

The final whistle went, and Barcelona were crowned champions at Atlético’s stadium, a reversal of this exact date last year. Some unsavoury scenes appeared at the end of the game between Godín and Neymar, and then Siqueira and Messi, but in the end the Atlético players congratulated the new champions as they left the field.

Atlético Madrid Barcelona
Atlético Madrid 0 1 Barcelona
 Messi 65'
Competition Liga BBVA
Location Vicente Calderón
Date 17 May 2015
Kick Off 19:00 CEST

Team Lineups

Atlético Madrid
Oblak
Juanfran
Godín
Giménez
Siqueira
Koke
Mario Suárez
Gabi
Turan
Griezmann
F Torres
Substitutes used
Raúl García
Mandzukic
Saúl
Barcelona
Bravo
Piqué
Mascherano
Alba
Alves
Rakitic
Busquets
Iniesta
Pedro
Messi
Neymar
Substitutes used
Rafinha
Mathieu
Xavi

Match Stats

Possession
2377
Shots
1015
On Target
35
Corners
65
Fouls
237
Yellow Cards
53
Red Cards
00
  • Ratchet

    As I said in the matchday post, this team is losing it’s identity and fighting spirit. Against Real Madrid, instead of taking the game to them as we did so well at the start of the season, we sat back and we eventually lost. There was no fight there, just content with holding Real until they scored. Same thing happened here. It’s like we never set out to win the match. As long as Barca don’t score too many goals, it’s not an issue. Once Barca got their goal, what did we do? Very little. In fact, Barca were more likely to score a second goal. We don’t usually do that. If we go behind at home, we push on and make it tense for them. The only tension here was because of their situation – Atletico did nothing to make Barca sweat. It is like we are content with just losing by one goal – we’re Atletico Madrid for crying out loud. Where is the fight? It was missing against Levante. It was missing against Real. And it was missing here. In fact, this line sums it up quite nicely:

    “but Los Rojiblancos won’t be too disappointed that they didn’t get the goal that would deny Barcelona the La Liga title”

    Why wouldn’t we be disappointed? Any home loss should be disappointing, especially one like this, where we looked like spectators for most of the game. It’s not about denying Barca, we have our own battle to win. The battle for 3rd. I don’t think we deserve 3rd, for many reasons, particularly our performances against the top 5 this season, where we have 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses. While that looks alright, against Valencia, we have a draw and a loss. First half of the season was fine more or less, but our results this year have been more and more tame. Valencia have fought to get back, and we’ve let them, with no win out of our last 3 games in the run-in.

    And next week, we go to Granada to fight against a team in form with 3 wins out of their last 3 games, including thrashing Sociedad in their own back yard. Valencia, on the other hand travel to Almeria, who have one draw, one win and 3 losses in their last 5 games. I think Valencia will win that one. But will we be able to contain Granada re-surging and in form again? Given how passive we have been playing, it’ll be a big ask. 3rd place is so important, because we rely on the Champions League, but if we do lose next week and Valencia get 3rd from us, we have to ask – do we really deserve it? Right now, are we still the 3rd best team in Spain. Not if we don’t fight anymore.

  • Ringo

    We need a revamped midfield
    at least formationwise

    Gabi and Mario aren’t enough anymore
    if we want to continue growing change needs to be implemented and risk to be taken.

    I hope Cholo watched Porto this year and gives Óliver more than the occasional minute.

    Toward midseason I felt like the team was growing in the offense, but since february I felt like we’ve been in decline.
    I think a lot of the players were tired, like last year, when defending was pretty much all the team was capable of, but we pulled yhrough just enough (except for the CL final).

    I hope next season’s final months will have fresher faces on the team
    It’s not the Cholo-way, but maybe a little more rotation.
    I actually have seen it the past few weeks, but minimally so

    If we want to be great next year we need more creative midfielders than Koke and Arda.
    I hope Correa and Oli are ready.
    I don’t think the forwards we have will be a problem if the creativity problem behind them is solved.

    I’m not a Mandzukic fan, but even he’s not the main issue here. Torres, Mandzukic, Griezmann and both Raúls should definitely be enough, although I expect one of those five to leave.
    I hope Óliver, Koke, Arda, Saúl, Correa and maybe a new swift winger-type player will be enough creativity for next year.
    Correa might be loaned out though, I don’t know what the plan is with him. With Koke and Saúl possibly/hopefully moving into the CM positions, I hope Correa’ll stay here.

    I don’t know what Tiago plans to do, but I don’t think it would be surprising if he’d either move to America or the Emirates or whatever this summer. I’d like to keep him as an experienced player on the bench, rather than Gabi actually, but I’m afraid him staying would slow down the process we need to go through in central midfield. Either one of Gabi and Tiago to stay, I am not against Mario like some guys on here, but it doesn’t look like he’ll get better anymore, so I would prefer a physically strong new defensive midfielder, maybe box-to-box, but at least someone who’ll keep our set pieces dangerous and the ones against us less risky.
    Also the long balls against us are less useless this year, a year ago Gabi and Tiago and Mario actually stopped a lot of attacks early on by being good headers.
    This midfielder can’t be too slow, either, though.
    I’d like to bet on Koke and Saúl, but maybe we should loan someone like Kondogbia or get Guilavogui back?

    I’d only bet on Oli or perhaps Arda as central midfielder if we have a three man center midfield.

    To get back on our partido a partido mentality: Granada (right)
    I wished we had won (or because of the Valencia result even a draw would be acceptable) today, in which case there would have been more room to experiment a little next week.
    Now I guess we’ll play with Gabi and Tiago, with Koke and Arda in front of them.

    Which is okay, but I would have liked to see Cholo play Saúl and Koke as CM from the start, with Arda and Raúl, and Griezmann and Torres or Jiménez up front (or no García and both Torres and Jiménez but I don’t see Cholo making such big changes in tactics)

    A draw should be doable with an experiment, too, I think… but I don’t know what to expect of Atleti at the moment.

    for the TLDR: I hope the team grows over the summer into a more offensive, creative outfit, but with the same passion, the same spirit as the best Cholo games we’ve seen so far.
    But we’ll see.

  • AaX

    Against the Top teams in the World, the lack of our attacking time period due to available players in this current 4-4-2 formation and style have failed to provide enough sustainable Reinforcements and possession time, which really tells and finally costed us because of the high possession time given away to the opposition. That’s what exactly gave Barca that time to figure themselves out into our goal which wasn’t at all previously the case. We GOT to be MORE OFFENSIVELY SET-UP while maintaining our Fundamental Solidity Next Season. FORZA Atleti !!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I won’t talk about football this time, I want to talk about the great attitude we have seen from the players and the fans

    The great attitude of the players was the fights of Godin with Neymar and of Siqueira with Messi
    Yes, that was great, everybody was saying that we will be happy if Barca won the title, and that’s absolutely wrong, we were just less sad
    We never let a disgusting person like Neymar does what he did without a fight, and we never fight with each other for Messi’s shirt like Bayer Leverkusen players did couple of years ago, no, we fight with Messi
    We are a big and proud club, before last night’s game, the record of Atleti-Barca in the Calderon was 50 wins for us, 37 for them and 17 draws, it takes a very big team to win the H2H against Barca, and I think Real Madrid is the only other club who have a positive record vs Barca at home
    We were not happy last night, and not just because we couldn’t secure the 3rd place, but because we are Atletico de Madrid, and we hate to lose, even against a big team like Barca, especially against a big team like Barca, and we don’t take crap from anyone, not even from Messi & Neymar, especially not from Messi & Neymar

    By the way :
    I just can’t understand how some people think even for a second that Godin would leave us after all the signs he keeps giving us about how much he loves this club and fights for it ?!!
    And you know that I was already one of the few fans of Siqueira, now I like him even more

    And the great attitude from the fans was applauding Barca, to return the favor, then chanting : Atleti .. Atleti, then chanting :
    Juve .. Juve, they cleared out a very important point that many people -including some of Atleti fans- were confused about it :
    We don’t love Barca, we just hate them less than we hate Real Madrid
    We were relieved that the league didn’t go to Real Madrid, but we still wish that Barca lose the cup and the CL
    The problem with people is that they forget
    How many times did the refs fucked us up against Barca ?!
    Can any ref in the world dare to sent off Barca’s captain in the tunnel just like Jesus Gil did to Gabi just for saying : “that was a penalty and a red card” ?! .. he cant even do it to Mounir or Halilovic
    In 2008, while Coupet was setting up his wall for a free-kick in Camp Nou, Messi played it before the whistle and scored, and the great Iturralde allowed it, it was already 2-0 before min. 10, and that game ended 6-1
    Four years later Messi did it again in the Claderon against Courtois in min. 82, and because they are Barca, the goal was also allowed and they won 2-1 in a very tight game
    Messi-Ronaldo story is the same as Barca-Madrid, because Ronaldo is arrogant and dirty, people get confused and think that Messi is a nice and decent guy .. he is not
    And there is no confusion about Neymar, Alba or Alves
    It was not just Real Madrid who accused us of being violent, Barca did it as much as them, Oblak even spoke about that in the
    pre-game press conference
    (before one week form the end we are the 13th team that committed more fouls, not even in the top half of the table)
    Barca have been after Koke for three or four years, and they wouldn’t stop after we said no and he said no too many times
    I can keep going on, but I guess you get what I want to prove

    I hope you don’t say that I’m just saying this because I’m angry and upset about the defeat, I was intending to say it before the game after all that talk about us letting Barca win, then the draw between Madrid & Valencia happened and Barca didn’t need our (gift) !

    We don’t love Barca, and we don’t not hate them, we do hate them, it’s just that we hate Real Madrid more
    The Calderon fans -the best in the world- made that very clear last night, and without too much words like me, just one word : Juve
    I hope the rest of Atleti fans around the world have understood the Calderon message .