Barcelona held by Atletico, lose ground in La Liga title race

Joe Prince-Wright
NBC Sports

Barcelona were held by Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp as their La Liga title hopes took another blow.

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On a night where Lionel Messi scored the 700th goal of his incredible career (630 for Barcelona, 70 for Argentina), Barcelona were again their own worst enemies as they conceded two penalty kicks to drop more points in their La Liga title battle with arch rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona are now one point behind Real Madrid who have played one game less, as Zinedine Zidane’s side can extend their lead at the top to four points with five games to go if they beat Getafe on Thursday.

As for Quique Setien’s Barcelona, they have now drawn three and won three of their six games since the restart and familiar issues are hitting them hard. Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite were left on the bench and Griezmann only arrived onto the pitch in the 90th minute as Barca ran out of steam against a typically spirited Atletico who are fighting for a top four finish and now sit in third as Diego Simeone is working his magic once again.

Atletico’s Diego Costa scored an own goal and missed a penalty kick early on but his spot kick has to be retaken as VAR determined Marc-Andre ter Stegen had strayed off his line, so Saul Niguez stepped up and slotted home the retake. Messi’s 700th goal arrived courtesy of a panenka penalty kick to put Barcelona ahead in the second half, but Gerard Pique fouled the excellent Yannick Carrasco (who won both penalty kicks) to give away a penalty kick which was slotted home by Niguez.

Barcelona have five games remaining but their destiny now appears to be out of their hands as they drew 2-2 for the second-straight game.


Elsewhere in La Liga, Real Mallorca hammered Celta Vigo to give themselves hopes in their battle against relegation. Mallorca sit in 18th, the final relegation spot, but they dominated 17th-place place Celta who they are now five points behind with five games to go. Ante Budimir scored twice, while Cucho Hernandez, Alejandro Pozo and Salva Seville were all on target for Mallorca. Iago Aspas got Celta’s lone strike from the penalty spot.

Sevilla beat strugglers Leganes 3-0, who are nine points from safety with five games to go, as Oliver Torres (two) and Munir kept Sevilla in fourth place as they aim to return to the Champions League.

Barcelona held by Atletico, lose ground in La Liga title race originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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