LaLiga: Atletico Madrid edge past Barcelona to earn title boost; Villarreal hold Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw – Sports News , Firstpost


Yannick Carrasco finished brilliantly from a distance after the errors of Gerard Pique and Marc-André ter Stegen left the goal gaping, but Barca, and a Lionel Messi below par, failed to respond to Wanda Metropolitano.

Madrid: Atletico Madrid gave a major boost to their hopes of winning La Liga on Saturday by beating Barcelona 1-0 and delivering their opponents to their worst start to the league season in 29 years.

Yannick Carrasco finished brilliantly from a distance after the errors of Gerard Pique and Marc-André ter Stegen left the goal gaping, but Barca, and a Lionel Messi below par, failed to respond to Wanda Metropolitano.

Instead, Atletico recorded their first league win against Barcelona in 10 years, putting them three points ahead of Real Madrid, with one game in progress, and second in the table, tied on points. with the first leaders of Real Sociedad.

It also leaves their opponents languishing in 10th place, with Barcelona’s 11 points in the first eight games being their worst record at this stage since the 1991-92 season.

“Like any coach, I am responsible,” said coach Ronald Koeman. “We know we have to improve the results. I continue to trust the players I have.”

Real Madrid had previously been held to a 1-1 draw by fit Villarreal, another mistake for the defending champions to reinforce the feeling that this could be Atletico’s year.

And beating Barcelona in La Liga for the first time since 2010 – before Simeone arrived as a manager – will do wonders for the team’s conviction and extend what is now a huge advantage in the table.

It also extends Atletico’s unbeaten run in the league to 24 matches.

“Today we were able to win, but that doesn’t change a thing,” Simeone said. “We are working well and I am very excited about this team.”

Another disappointing day for Barca was made even worse by the sight of Pique hobbling in tears with what the club said was a ‘sprained right knee’.

Pique was injured in a collision with Angel Correa and was in distress when leaving.

“I am worried,” Koeman said. “A lot of damage has been done.”

Antoine Griezmann almost put Barca in front of his former club as Marcos Llorente moved closer to Atletico, skimming the crossbar after a neat exchange between Kieran Trippier and Correa on the right.

Messi may have scored but was unusually hesitant, with one half on the verge of going scoreless until two errors gave Atletico the lead.

Pique was caught off guard after a big touch and Mario Hermoso did well to free Carrasco. Ter Stegen, already on the pitch, rushed to fill the void Pique had left, but Carrasco’s first contact got the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs before a 50-yard curling finish sent off the ball in the open net.

Clement Lenglet should have equalized but directed Messi’s cross straight to Jan Oblak, but Barcelona were far from dominant and Messi struggled for his usual influence.

Philippe Coutinho entered and Pique hobbled. Messi threw a wide free kick and saw a blocked shot before substitute Martin Braithwaite had a late chance after a bad Oblak kick. But Barca couldn’t find a way through.

A real faux pas again

Previously, a patched-up Real Madrid had to hang on for a draw against Villarreal.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois catches the ball ahead of Villareal’s Carlos Bacca in a LaLiga game. AP Photo

Mariano Diaz put Madrid ahead after just 105 seconds, but Zinedine Zidane’s side fainted at La Ceramica and Villarreal claimed a earned run thanks to Gerard Moreno’s penalty in the second half.

“It sounds like a small reward,” Zidane said. “We deserved more today for the game we played. I’m pissed off about the boys’ effort.”

Mariano was almost sold last summer but had to replace injured Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic, who tested positive for coronavirus Friday.

Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao and Casemiro were all missing after the international break, leaving Nacho Fernandez and a Raphael Varane unfit to replace at the back, while Martin Odegaard made a rare start in midfield.

Considering the absentees, a draw might not be too much of a concern for Zidane, especially against a dynamic side from Villarreal who were second at kick-off after four wins on the rebound.

But another slippage means Madrid have won just three of their last seven games in all competitions, with a crucial visit to Inter Milan coming to the Champions League on Wednesday.

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