La Liga: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid - As it happened...
Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
90+3' - Atletico are the new champions of Spain. Truly deserved team under Diego Simeone. They have played fearless, tireless and relentless football. And have shocked both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
90+1' - A free kick for Barca in the dying minutes, resulted in a corner.
90' - Three minutes added.
89' - YELLOW CARD. Booking for Mascherano. Last option for the Argetine as the ball was clearly heading their box. But Atletico failed to take advantage from the resulting free kick.
88' - Creating space and controlling the game now is Atletico. But a failed pass saw Barca getting back into the action.
87' - After such an enthralling match, some hearts are sure to be broken after the final whistle as an anxious crowd began to push the players for more
86' - With some four minutes and injury time, the trophy is surely going to Madrid.
84' - Another missed chance for Barca as the ball was cleared from the box by Atletico players.
83' - in one swift counter attack, Barca players found themselves thronging the Atletico half. Then a penalty claim turned down by the ref. as Pique lie in the ground.
82' - CORNER. For Atletico. Clearance from goal-line as the delivery landed in the crowd in front of the Barca goal.
80' - Great tackle, once again, by Alves to thwart another Atletico attack.
79' - A quick free-kick for Barca resulted in a corner but the delivery was far from desired. But the follow-up play saw Alves trying a long-ranger, which flew over the bar. Tense moments in Camp Nou.
78' - Neymar involved in quick move with Xavi, but Atletico goalie was one to the ball quickly.
77' - Adriano recieved a rough tackle and thus a free kick for Barca.
76' - SUB. With 15 minutes left in the play, Barca legend Xavi arrived, in place of under-performing Fabregas.
75' - Ateltico earned a free kick after a Adriano tackle, but after much confusion, Barca players cleared the danger.
74' - Great block from Mascherano as his touch ended Atletico's surge in the Barca half.
72' - Gabi hit a direction less strike from a counter attack for Atletico.
71' - Third and final SUB for Atletico. Sosa on for Adrian.
69' - FREE KICK in a dangerous area. Messi earned it and took the kick, after some delay forming the mandatory wall. But his strike crashed into the solid wall.
68' - CORNER for Barca. But the resultant delivery was played rather passively by the team.
67'- A golden chance for Lopez as he was left one-to-one with a Barca defender. But reinforcement in the form of Song, thwarted the attack.
65' - Neymay quickly into action. Almost got through the Atletico defense but his move was curtailed by a tight Atletico defence.
62' - OFFSIDE. A goal disallowed, scored by Messi. It was a tight call. But a right call from the linesman.
61' - SUB. Atletico won a throw as Neymay arrived for Pedro.
59' - Fabregas earned a throw-in for Barca, which was rallied back to their half, then created a move.
58' - Iniesta tried a volley from the goal mouth but the a thick defense was there for Atletico and the danger averted.
57' - Dani Alves long ball, across the centre failed to reach its desired target but, a timely interception meant they control the posession.
56' - SUB. Former Arsenal midfielder, Alex Song arrived, from Busquets with over half an hour to go.
54' - Relentless Atletico players are giving nightmares to Barca players. The hosts team, as expected, are trying the calm the storm.
53' - Injury scar of Barca and Spain as Busquets holds his hips in pain. But he seemed fine. Game on.
52' - A worried looking Tata prowls the sidelines as his plan seemed to have fizzle out after the interval.
50' - As often in the past few meetings, Atletico have shown why they are considered as one of the best teams around. A draw is enough for them. And ahead of that crucial Champions League final against city rivals, Real...a win here will do a whole lot of good.
48' - GOAL. And starting from where they left, Atletico started with a bang. Godin maketh it 1-1 at Camp Nou. A powerful header killed the Barca defence.
46' - Second Half starts.
The first half in Barcelona saw Atletico Madrid, after a bright start, founf themselves trailing the hosts as Sanchez scored a wonder goal. Atletico also have two players substituted, both the season-campaingers in Costa and Turan, which hampered their chances.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 17, 2014
Unlike their past encounters, the first half also witnessed five yellow cards, including that of Lionel Messi. But Barcelona, thanks to the goal, have enjoyed better game plan and have over 60 percent possession.
45+3' HALF-TIME. Expect a tense second half in Camp Nou.
45+1' - Messi was caught stranded after a quick change-over. But these last few minutes, its all Atletico.
45' - Three minutes from the officials.
44' - Crucial minutes in the first half as the visitors continued pushing, hard... Alves, great defending from the Brazilian as a high cross looped just in front of the goal.
42' - CORNER. Ball is still in Barca half as the home fans's boisterous calls echoed through the open air. In between, former Barca frontman Villa won a corner for Atletico.
41' - Pinto called into action, from an counter attack from Atletico. Despite Barca's spell. the match is still alive if the last two moves from the visitors are to be taken in account.
40' - With league title in the offing, Barca players are trying to kill off the match in the first half itself. Alves has been the star performer so far. His every move has been of quality.
38' - Another chance for the hosts, as Messi for the first time in the match, came alive, rallying with his team-mates.
37' - Suddenly, Barca are on top. And they are controlling the proceedings, passing short little passes.
34' - YELLOW CARD. Two for Atletico in quick succession, for Godin and Tiago. Pressure pilling on Simeone's team.
32' - GOAL. Alexis Sanchez. An unstoppable shot from the Chilean finished inside the goal. It's a near zero angle. An equally great pass from Messi. It wasn't any alien but, close to something great.
31' - A little period of tika taka in the centre and the move clearly meant something, reaching at least the Atletico box. But Alves crossed was nowhere good.
30' - Some anxious moments for Mascherano, as he was chased down to the line by Atletico players in the Barca box. But the Argetine did just enough to clear.
29' - Messi's little nice chip failed to reach his team-mate in the Atletico box, and in the follow-up Busquets got a verbal caution from the ref. Barca are in a disarray.
27' - Busquets came into rescue as Atletico barged through the Barca box.
25' - Pedro could have done better. A creat supply from Alves but the ball sailed past the bar.
24' - CORNER. From nowhere, Atletico players found themselves in the Barca goal-mouth. And they are certainly enjoying the game despite the two injury blows. Another corner for them.
23' - Alexis headed a cross from Alves but a cool and calm Courtois collected the ball.
22' - SUB. Garcia replaced Arda.
21' - A little confusion in the centre as palyers congregate over a possible foul on a Atletico player in the Barca half.
19' - Another limping off. Arda Turan getting medical assistance in the sidelines. Its horror for Atletico.
18' - CORNER. Godin headed away a cross to give Barca their first corner. In the follow-up, Fabregas fouled Arda and a free kick to Atletico in their own half.
17' - Nice move from Barca in front of Atletico goal-mouth but no threat to the visitors.
16' - SUB. Adrian for Costa.
15' - Iniesta created a fine chance, but Godin cleared the danger for Atletico.
14' - Costa stormed forward only to see the Brazil born Spaniard settling down. Injured? Today's first scalp and an unlucky one for Atletico. Costa limped off. No sub yet, though.
12' - Barca somehow got a brief spell in the centre and gained a throw.
10' - CORNER. A concern Puyol looked on from the stands as Atletico continues to push the ball inside the Barca half. And once again, the fragile Barca defense almost concede. But luckily the ball sailed over the bar, resulting in a corner.
9' - Alexis did try to drill through the Atletico defense but, the 'crowd' proved good enough for the visitors.
7' - Early action from Adriano. But his shot was a rather weak one which was collected by Atletico goalie.
5' - YELLOW CARD for Pique. And Barca conceded a free-kick, which was floated by Gabi but the ball went out of play. Goal kick.
4'- Godin cleared from the depth to build up a move but, Barca defense equally active. Pedro caught by Turan but the game on.
2' - First fault from Barca as Pedro was penalised for a handball. But soon the host got their action together in defense. And a chance wasted.
1' - Liga is in play, as they say, and quickly Atletico started with a good run from the left.
As things stand now, Atletico are with 89 points, followed by Real Madrid on 87 – who just played their final game of the league season, and Barcelona on 86.
37-year-old Spaniard, Antonio Mateu Lahoz will officiate the match.
10 minutes to kick-off in Barcelona. Elsewhere in Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid thrashed Espanyol 3-1 thanks to a Morata double in the second half to keep pressure on Barca. With the win, Real Madrid have climbed to second position, temporarily!
13 Pinto Colorado, 22 Dani Alves, 21 Adriano, 16 Busquets, 03 Pique, 14 Mascherano, 04 Fabregas, 08 Iniesta, 10 Messi, 09 Sanchez, 07 Pedro
06 Xavi, 11 Neymar, 15 Bartra, 17 Song, 18 Alba, 20 Tello, 25 Olazabal Paredes,
13 Courtois, 20 Juanfran, 03 Filipe Luis, 14 Gabi, 23 Miranda, 02 Godin, 10 Turan, 05 Tiago, 19 Diego Costa, 09 Villa, 06 Koke
01 Aranzubia, 04 Suarez, 07 Adrian, 08 Raul Garcia, 12 Alderweireld, 21 Diego, 24 Sosa
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 17, 2014
Barcelona: It`s match-day 38 in Spain and the title fight is still on. Never before in recent times, the league has seen such a tight fight, thanks to the arrival of Atletico Madrid as the third force in the Andalusian nation.
Breaking the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Diego Simeone`s outfit have enthralled the league, which many have considered an inferior one because of two-team domination as contrast to other leagues around. But the story has seen a new script, a fearless one, this season.
Starting the finale as favourites will be the Madrid side as they have the luxury of three points advantage and can afford to play out a draw. Also, Atletico have knocked out Barcelona in the Champions League quarters.
In such a scenario, the trophy will return to Vicente Calderon after a gap of 18 years. And keeping their chances of a rare continental-league double is their ruthless attacking game. The impressive Diego Costa, who has so far scored 27 league goals, will once again play a pivotal role up-front as an early goal will make things lot easier for them in wearing down the famed Barca attack. Giving a solid defensive line is their goalkeeper from Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian single-handedly thwarted Lionel Messi & Co. in their last few meetings.
The Catalan outfit, witnessing a transformation phase, has seen one of the worst seasons in its recent history as they have struggled to cope with the changing of guard and also the phasing out of some of their old war-horses like Carles Puyol. However, the star-studded line-up at Camp Nou cannot be discounted at any given point of time.
What Gerardo "Tata" Martino`s outfit need is a win, at all cost, if they are to defend the title which they had won last year in a convincing manner under Tito Vilonava. More than retaining the trophy, it will be one fitting tribute to Tito.