By Fabrice Pierre-Toussaint
On December 1, 2019, Barcelona beat Atletico 1-0 to gain first place in La Liga’s standings for the 2019-20 season. Lionel Messi of Barcelona was the only scorer for the game. The score happened during the final six minutes of the game. Thirty shots were counted as missed goals. Finally, Messi scored the one and only goal of the match. After the game, Atletico ranked in sixth in La Liga’s standings. Messi and his goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, were resolute in their determination to defend their turf. Messi as the forward and captain respectively, looked up to as a very experienced soccer player and in charge of scoring goals took matters into his own hands by scoring the sole goal of the game within the last six minutes.
For the first 45 minutes, Atletico dominated the game with the help of their attacking midfielder João Félix. Since Atletico were in their respective stadium in Madrid, it was Barcelona playing in their home turf. Atletico’s first nine shots were off target thanks to Barcelona’s goalie, ter Stegen. Their persistence was noticed. Diego Simeone, Atletico’s manager nonetheless oversaw his team even when sensing the opposing team’s uncertainty. Alvaro Morata, Atletico’s striker attempted to score a goal within the last minute of the first quarter but to no avail.
Furthermore, Atletico attempting to strike a goal on Barcelona was becoming increasingly frequent and noticeable. Eventually, Sergi Roberto, and Arthur Melo, Barcelona’s midfielders started to get ahold of the ball along with Messi’s help, twenty five minutes after the second quarter. Barcelona was picking up speed. Kieran Trippier, the right back for Atletico’s role was becoming more pronounced as Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique, Barcelona’s striker and centre-back respectively intervened in Atletico’s wide space. Atletico thought Pique should of had a yellow card for a tackle on Morata. According to The Guardian, “Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona’s forward set up a Suárez shot that flew just wide. And four minutes before half time Piqué’s header came down off the turf and then off the bar. There was still time for Trippier to charge down Junior’s shot.”
To conclude, within twenty five minutes of the second quarter, it was now obvious Barcelona was in charge. Messi’s perfect opening was blocked by Hermoso, the rival team’s central defender. As Messi dashes deep through the middle, avoiding two attempts to restrain him, passing the ball to Suarez who eventually forwards it to Griezmann. This move excited the Barcelona supporters and infuriated the rivals. Within the last six minutes, Messi sees his opening and scores, bringing Barcelona to a 1-0 victory and bringing them back to first place of La Liga’s standings. An exciting game, a creative goal, from a well-respected player. Atletico’s victory was short lived considering they had complete control within the first half of the game. According to ESPN “We feel very hard done by. We played superbly and Barcelona had hardly any chances but when Messi appears he is capable of doing anything and he made it look so easy, that’s why he is the best.” said Atletico Midfielder Saul Niguez.