LaLiga: Barcelona climb to second with comfortable win at Atletico Madrid

Robert Lewandowski played a starring role for the visitors.

Robert Lewandowski played a starring role as Barcelona moved up to second place in LaLiga with a 3-0 win at Atletico Madrid.

Lewandowski set up on-loan forward Joao Felix to open the scoring against his parent club and doubled his side’s lead just 80 seconds into the second half.

The prolific Poland international then provided the cross for Fermin Lopez to head in the third in the 65th minute as Barca took full advantage of Girona’s defeat at Getafe on Saturday to move above them in the table.

Barcelona coach Xavi was sent off shortly before half-time for repeated dissent towards the referee, but he will have been delighted with his side’s performance after a slow start.

The home side enjoyed the upper hand in a low-key opening to the contest, with Pablo Barrios curling a shot inches wide of the post from outside the area in the sixth minute.

A dangerous cross from Samuel Lino was then turned behind by Pau Cubarsi as Alvaro Morata failed to flick the ball in at the near post and it took until the 35th minute for Barcelona to register a meaningful attempt on goal.

Lewandowski picked out Raphinha with a superb cross but the Brazilian glanced his header wide, with replays showing he may well have been narrowly offside.

That at least sparked the visitors into life and, seconds after Lopez brought a sharp save out of Jan Oblak at his near post with a low drive, the deadlock was broken in fine style.

Ilkay Gundogan found Lewandowski in the left-hand side of the area and the 35-year-old turned sharply before pulling the ball back for Felix to sidefoot home.

Despite seeing his side take the lead, Xavi was becoming increasingly irate with some of the referee’s decisions and it was no surprise to see him sent off for taking his protestations too far shortly before the interval.

His mood will have been improved immediately after the break, Lewandowski latching on to a delightful lofted pass from Raphinha and, despite being forced wide, firing a right-footed shot in off the far post.

Atletico refused to throw in the towel and Rodrigo Riquelme and Marcos Llorente brought good saves from Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Lopez made certain of all three points with a close-range header from Lewandowski’s pinpoint cross.

A bad night for the hosts was capped in added time when Nahuel Molina was dismissed for a last-man tackle from behind on Vitor Roque.

Their first home defeat in the league this season leaves Atletico fifth in the table, a point behind Athletic Bilbao in fourth, with Barcelona eight points behind leaders Real Madrid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *