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La Liga: Dembele Goal Salvages Crucial Away Victory Against Atletico


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Barcelona stretched their unbeaten LaLiga run to seven games without defeat and fuelled their title aspirations, courtesy of a determined display which saw them beat Atlético Madrid 1-0 at the Metropolitano Stadium.

Real Madrid’s loss at Villarreal meant Barcelona had been given an opportunity to reopen a lead at the league summit, after their draw to Espanyol last time out saw their arch rivals join them on 38 points ahead of this round. Christmas in Spain is now over however, and Diego Simeone’s side didn’t appear to be in a generous mood, as they defended fiercely in a flat back four containing newly-crowned FIFA World Cup winner Nahuel Molina.

The infamous Simeone-ball some might have expected wasn’t witnessed however, as a fast-paced and open contest ensued. Pedri, who already in his short career has resembled his coach Xavi at times, was the brightest spark and found himself at home in Madrid as his side dominated possession in typical fashion. He was heavily involved as Barça took a first-half lead, beating a handful of defenders before sliding across the box to partner-in-crime Gavi, who then found Ousmane Dembélé for a composed finish and Barcelona’s first goal here since 2019.



That’s not to say Atléti didn’t put up a fight, and after ending the first half in the ascendancy, they had their foot firmly on the ball again after the restart. However, a Barça backline – which has conceded just six LaLiga goals so far – proved a difficult obstacle to overcome, with ex-Barcelona man Antoine Griezmann failing to produce a performance as bright as the pink hair he sported this evening,

As the hour mark passed, Sergio Busquets restarted the metronome and this soon resulted in chances as Dembélé, who looked somewhere near his best all evening, struck the post after speeding past the hosts’ defence. Despite Stefan Savić and Ferran Torres both seeing red for a late altercation, the composure with which Barcelona saw out their slender lead in the final stages may have reminded some in the stands of peak Atlético. And on the basis of this performance, in a notoriously tough stadium, Barcelona’s charge for their first title since the 2018/19 campaign will take some stopping.


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