Barcelona and Atletico Madrid produced an enthralling 2-2 draw on Tuesday night at the Camp Nou in a game of football that could have gone either way, with the fans getting to see one own goal and three penalties being awarded.
The hosts took an early lead through an own goal from Diego Costa after just 11 minutes, but Barcelona’s joy proved to be short-lived as Atletico were awarded a penalty just eight minutes later; Saul duly converted it to make it 1-1.
Similar to the first half, Barcelona began the second half in emphatic fashion by winning a penalty five minutes after the break. Up stepped Lionel Messi, whose panenka kick ended up being his 700th career goal.
However, shortly after the hour mark, Atletico Madrid were awarded their second penalty of the game, with Saul dispatching it to complete his brace. Until the final whistle, neither side could find the back of the net again, as it ended 2-2.
As a consequence, the Blaugrana are one point behind Real Madrid in second place, albeit the league leaders have a game in hand. Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, remain in third place.
That being said, here are the five hits and flops from the exciting game between these two teams in La Liga gameweek 33.
#5 Riqui Puig (Hit)
In the absence of Frenkie de Jong, who is out injured at the moment, Riqui Puig has established himself worthy of playing in the first team.
He was the most energetic of all midfielders in Tuesday night’s La Liga game, and his turn of pace, vision, and ability to operate in tight spaces was on display against Atletico. Starting only his second La Liga game, the youngster showed nerves of steel.
If Puig continues to play like he did against Los Rojiblancos, then it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a regular feature in Barcelona’s playing XI.
#4 Felipe (Flop)
Making a return from injury, Felipe didn’t have an impressive game against Barcelona by any means. He was looking a tad bit short on confidence, and that showed when the Brazilian made a rash challenge on Nelson Semedo which earned the home side a penalty.
Just a few minutes after that, Felipe was booked for another rash tackle on Sergio Busquets. However, the centre-back kept his nerves for the remainder of the match as Atletico secured a precious point on the road.
#3 Yannick Carrasco (Hit)
The Belgian winger was a handful for Barcelona players as Yannick Carrasco earned both penalties for his team in an important match for Atletico. The home side failed to match up with his pace, and Carrasco was a treat to watch every time he received the ball.
His unpredictability and flair proved too hot to handle for Barca, and the 26-year-old was rightly adjudged as the Man of the Match, having had a big hand in both goals for the away team.
#2 Luis Suarez (Flop)
After starring against Celta last week, Luis Suarez really struggled to have any sort of influence on this game as he remained anonymous for most parts of the match.
The Uruguayan striker was starved of delivery for long durations, and in the moments when he did find himself on the ball, Suarez struggled to link up with his team-mates.
As a consequence, Lionel Messi had to take on the role of a creator as he so often does by dropping deep, and it was Arturo Vidal and not the veteran striker who ended up into goalscoring positions.
Vidal is not a striker by any means, and the chance that he missed ended up costing Barcelona. One has to wonder what could have been if Suarez got to the end of those crosses that the Chilean missed?
#1 Lionel Messi (Hit)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. The Catalan giants may have missed out on a win on Tuesday night, but Lionel Messi bagged an assist (on the own goal) and ended his three-match goal drought in La Liga to reach a milestone of 700 career goals.
He was the driving force behind Barcelona’s attack, and as always, Messi stepped up when his team needed him to. A draw really doesn’t help the Catalan giants’ case, but at least they earned a point against a resurgent Atletico Madrid team.
Moreover, now that the Argentine has found his scoring boots, Barca will be hoping their marquee man can continue to deliver the goods heading into the final stretch of games.