Barcelona‘s La Liga title hopes have take another blow after a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid despite Lionel Messi‘s landmark 700th career goal on Tuesday. Also Read - La Liga: Barcelona Crush Villarreal 4-1, Real Madrid Edge Past Athletic Bilbao 1-0
Messi brought the milestone in style with a sublime Panenka from penalty spot minutes after the start of the second half. Also Read - Lionel Messi Preparing to Leave FC Barcelona After Pulling Out Of Contract Talks: Report
However, twice Atletico came from a goal down to pour cold water on the defending champion’s hopes of keeping the pressure on title rivals Real Madrid who can now go four points clear if they beat Getafe on Wednesday. Also Read - Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Bhuvneshwar Kumar Picks His Favourite
Barcelona took the lead as early as 11th minute after the kickoff thanks to an own goal from Diego Costa. However, nine minutes later, Saul Nigez converted a spot-kick eight minutes later.
Costa took the first attempt at the penalty kick after Yannick Carrasco was brought down by Arturo Vidal but it was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen but VAR showed the goalie had left his line early resulting in a re-take which Saul duly converted.
Five minutes into the second half, Messi penalty helped Barcelona regain their one-goal lead.
12 minutes later, Carrasco won Atletico another penalty and Saul stepped up to equalise, again.
Antoine Griezmann, whom Barcelona secured for €120 million from Atletico last year, was brought in as 90th minute substitution.
Explaining the strange call, Barcelona manager Quique Setien said it will be difficult to include the Frenchman “without destabilising the team.”
“I understand it’s tough for Griezmann to come on when so little time left. I will speak with him tomorrow, I won’t say sorry because [it’s about] decisions,” Setien was quoted as saying by Goal.com. “But I understand he may feel bad and I feel bad for him because he’s a great person and professional. It’s difficult to put him on without destabilising the team.”
Atletico manager Diego Simeone was expectedly happy. We are respectful of Barcelona with the quality they have,” Simeone said. “The game was played as a result of what we usually do. We started well. Their goal came in an isolated play. Then to generate a difficult game against a team that keep the ball well. We tried until the end. The work was very good, a very competitive team. I’m happy.”