Spanish LaLiga Report: Barcelona v Atletico Madrid, 04 March 2018

Sheri Evans
March 5, 2018

Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi has reached another landmark in his remarkable career after he scored for the 600th time.

A first-half goal from Lionel Messi handed Barcelona a slender 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in a Spanish LaLiga match at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Simeone might be gunning for victory at the Nou Camp but was full of praise for the impact of his opposite number this season.

The French forward has seven goals in his last two La Liga outings and will be hoping to fill his boots once again as Atleti look to close the gap on their title rivals. "I do not know what would have happened and I do not want to imagine it".

The only blot on a dominant Barcelona performance was an injury to Andres Iniesta, who had to be substituted after 34 minutes with what the club confirmed was a strain in the back of his thigh.

Atletico's miserly defence has laid the foundation for their title charge, conceding a mere 11 goals in 26 LaLiga games, but the form of reported Barcelona target Antoine Griezmann has breathed fire into their ambitions.

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Messi has repeatedly proven himself in the big games, too, scoring 25 goals against Real Madrid and finding the back of the net in Champions League and Copa del Rey finals.

Even Messi hit the wall with one poor free-kick and then sent a cross-field switch straight into the advertising boards.

Atletico relied on their defensive strength to get them through the initial five months of the season, as their summer additions of striker Diego Costa and winger Vitolo couldn't be a part of the team till January due to the transfer ban imposed on the club.

Atletico's goalkeeper could do little about the opener five minutes later, however.

Barcelona have also played a 4-4-2 in most of their matches this season, opting for solidity in midfield rather than flamboyance, giving Messi the reins of the team going forward.

Luis Suarez thought he had scored a second after half-volleying through Oblak's legs but was flagged offside, before Jose Gimenez applied a crucial block to deflect a Messi shot over. "It will be an important three points to the winners, but not decisive".

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