Barcelona earned a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid in the absence of their top striker in the Spanish league on Sunday (January 8) to open up a three-point lead over rivals Real Madrid. Madrid lost 2-1 to Villarreal on Saturday for their second league defeat of the season. Atlético dropped to fifth, reducing their lead to 14 points.
“We made a statement,” said Barcelona coach Xavi. “We showed that we are true title contenders.”
Ousmane Dembele scored in the first half as Barcelona earned their first league win of the year. Dembele scored in the 22nd minute with a low shot from close range after being set up by Gavi Paez. Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets said, “We knew it would be difficult to win here, but after Madrid lost points against Villarreal we had to take advantage of the opportunity.” “We have to keep adding points at the top.”
barcelona was without lewandowskiThe league’s leading scorer with 13 goals as the Poland striker began serving a three-game suspension ahead of the World Cup break. He faced Espanyol at the end of last year after his suspension was temporarily lifted, but was reinstated this week to prevent him from playing.
Xavi started with Anu Fati in place of Lewandowski. Fati came off the bench to score the winning goal in extra time to help Barcelona avoid elimination in the Copa del Rey midweek clash against third-division club Intercity. “It was important to win without Robert, who is an important player for us,” Xavi said.
Forward Antoine Griezmann had a few good chances to equalize for Atlético but failed to capitalize on them at the Metropolitano Stadium in the Spanish capital. His best came with a shot in stoppage time that was cleared just in front of the goal line by Barcelona defender Ronald Araújo. Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak said, “We played well for most of the match.” “We created chances but we were a bit unlucky. We could have scored many times, but the ball didn’t go in.
Atlético defender Stefan Savic and Barcelona forward Ferran Torres were sent off in stoppage time after brawling with each other. It was Barcelona’s first league win at Atlético since 2019.
Barcelona will now travel to Saudi Arabia to play in the Spanish Super Cup along with Madrid, Real Betis and Valencia. The Catalan club takes on defending Copa del Rey champion Betis on Thursday in one of the semi-finals. Madrid and Valencia play in the other semi-final on Wednesday.
sociedad near the top
Real Sociedad continued their good form with a 2–0 win in Almeria to stay in third place. David Silva and Alexander Sorloth each scored early in the second half to give the Basque Country club their sixth straight win in all competitions.
Sociedad are six points behind second-placed Madrid and nine behind Barcelona. Almeria, which had won four consecutive matches at home in the league, slipped to 14th place.
daughters live close
Betis recorded a 2-1 win at Rayo Vallecano to end their three-game winless streak in the league and move four points behind fourth-placed Sociedad. It was the third consecutive league match without a win for Rayo Vallecano, who finished in eighth place.
Relief for Sevilla
Sevilla beat Getafe 2–1 at home to end a six-game winless streak in the league and move out of the relegation zone. It had not won since a 1-0 win at Mallorca in October. Marcos Acuña and Rafa Mir scored for Sevilla, while Borja Mayoral secured the 13th for Getafe.
(With PTI inputs)