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Barca Reclaim Top Spot After Messi's Late Winner

LaLiga

Result: Atletico Madrid 0-1 FC Barcelona

Date: 01 December 2019

Venue: Wanda Metropolitano

FC Barcelona reclaimed top spot in LaLiga after Lionel Messi's superb late strike secured victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday evening.

Blaugrana manager Ernesto Valverde made four changes to the side that scrapped past Leganes last Saturday, as Clement Lenglet and Sergi Roberto replaced Moussa Wague and Samuel Umtiti in defence, while Ivan Rakitic and Arthur took the places of the Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele.

Meanwhile, Diego Simeone switched three positions from Atletico's draw with Granada, as Saul replaced Renan Lodi at left-back, Thomas Partey returned and Joao Felix also returned in attack at the expense of Vitolo.

The hosts started at a great pace going forward and had their first real chance in the 19th minute after Felix found Mario Hermoso with a cross on the blind-side but the centre-back's low shot came off the leg of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca were subdued for most of the half and it took them until the 36th minute before they could threaten Atletico's goal as Luis Suarez unleashed a powerful strike from range that sailed just wide of the mark.

Simeone's charges should have found the breakthrough with six minutes remaining of the first stanza after Alvaro Morata powered a header that was goal-bound from a corner but ter Stegen made another stupendous save, while Gerard Pique rattled the crossbar minutes later at the other end.

After a relatively quiet opening to the half, Antoine Griezmann had a wonderful chance to break the deadlock with 22 minutes remaining after being picked out by Suarez, but the former Atletico man struck his volley over the bar.

Simeone brought on Thomas Lemar in the last 17 minutes in place of Angel Correa who was carrying a yellow card in a highly charged match, while in the same moment Arturo Vidal replaced Arthur for fresh legs in midfield for Blaugrana.

With the seemingly headed for a draw, Messi raised his hand and broke the deadlock for the Catalan giants with four minutes remaining after exchanging passes with Suarez before curling into the bottom corner from around 20-yards out.

The goal took a lot of steam out of Atletico a Barca held on to clinch a 1-0 win to reclaim top spot from Real Madrid, while Simeone's troops dropped to sixth with 25 points.

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