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Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: Dembele answers his critics with leveller

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: Dembele answers his critics with leveller

Ousmane Dembele secured a point for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid on Saturday night at Wanda Metropolitano.

Atleti went into the game having collected seven of the last nine points available, defeating both Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao at the Wanda Metropolitano as well as drawing away to Leganes.

Diego Simeone made four changes to the side that produced a 3-2 win over Athletic before the international break, with Stefan Savic and Lucas Hernandez replacing the injured Diego Godin and Francisco Montero at the centre of defence, and Koke and Thomas Lemar taking to the field in place of Angel Correa and Thomas Partey.

After hammering Real Madrid 5-1 and beating league new boys Rayo Vallecano 3-2, Barcelona went into the break losing 4-3 at home to Real Betis. The Nou Camp side remained at the top of the table however, two points above second placed Sevilla.

Ernesto Valverde made three changes to the side that lost to Betis, with Sergi Roberto moving into midfield in place of the suspended Ivan Rakitic and Nelson Semedo taking the right back slot, as well as Samuel Umtiti and Arturo Vidal replacing Clement Lenglet and Malcom.

It was the hosts that had the first major opportunity of the match when Thomas Lemar had a weak shot blocked by Gerard Pique. It took Barca 41 minutes to get their first real chance of the game. Lionel Messi was brought down by Lucas; however he saw his free kick fly high over Jan Oblak’s crossbar and the first half ended goalless.

Following a coming together with Koke, Sergi Roberto was forced off at the interval and was replaced by Rafinha. Both sides’ defence proved to be strong, with no one managing to get a shot through to goal throughout the second half. Atleti called for a penalty in the 74th minute when the ball seemed to strike Arturo Vidal on the arm, however following a VAR check the referee judged that it was ball to hand and therefore no penalty was awarded.

Two minutes after the penalty incident and the deadlock was finally broken. Antoine Griezmann whipped in a corner that was headed past ter Stegen by Diego Costa, grabbing his first league goal of the season, to spark wild celebrations at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Messi was certain to dampen all jubilations with the home crowd however, and although he saw another free kick saved by Oblak, he proved to be the catalyst for Barcelona’s fight back. The visiting side’s captain ran through the heart of the Atleti defence before laying the ball off to Ousmane Dembele, the Frenchman’s left footed shot in the penalty area passed both Oblak and Lucas to ensure Barcelona did not suffer their first ever run of back-to-back defeats during Valverde’s tenure, and the game ended all square.

Following the draw, Atleti remain a point behind Barcelona and moved above Sevilla into second position with the Andalusian side due to face Real Valladolid later on today. They travel to Catalonia next Sunday to face Girona.

Barca stay top of the table and welcome struggling Villarreal to the Nou Camp next weekend.