How Barcelona edges Atletico to the top

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January 11, 2023, by Bhaskar

Barcelona overtakes Atletico at the top; Roma caught Milan

Ousmane Dembele celebrates scoring a goal against Atletico Madrid during their La Liga match at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid on Sunday. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Ousmane Dembele’s first-half goal helped Barcelona move three points clear at the top of La Liga with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Rivals and second-placed Real Madrid suffered a 2-1 defeat at Villarreal on Saturday, giving Barca the advantage in the league after the round of 16.

Barcelona dominated the early exchanges, pressuring Atlético up inside their own half and forcing them into mistakes.

The visitors got the only goal of the game after 22 minutes when Dembele was played clearly inside the box and sent the ball into the bottom right corner.

IMAGE: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid fights with Andreas Christensen of Barcelona for possession. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Two minutes later, Pedri managed to break into the Atlético box with keeper Jan Oblak, only for Nahuel Molina to fly over and block the shot at the last minute.

The hosts began to wake up at the end of the half, gaining possession and sending Barcelona into defensive mode.

Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a crucial save three minutes before stoppage time in the first half when he slid over an Antoine Griezmann shot at full stretch.

Two minutes into stoppage time, Barça’s Ferran Torres and Atlético’s Stefan Savic were sent off for violent conduct.

Atlético got a late point nearly four minutes into stoppage time when Griezmann had a shot that was blocked on the line as the visitors held on for a narrow win.

Roma snatches last-gasp draw with Milan

Photo: Tammy Abraham, left, with Benjamin Tahirovic, A.S. Roma celebrate after scoring their second goal against AC Milan. Photograph: Marco Luzani/Getty Images

A goal by striker Tammy Abraham in stoppage time helped AS Roma snatch a 2-2 draw at AC Milan on Sunday as Stefano Pioli’s men’s hopes of catching Serie A leaders Napoli suffered a setback.

It was a muggy night at the San Siro, leading to slippery conditions that marred the play.

“It’s a great pity to emerge from this game with just one point, that’s for sure. After a game like this, we tell the players that we should keep playing like this, but that match ends in the 95th minute.” , and you have to stay focused the whole time,” manager Pioli told DAZN.

“If you concede two goals on set plays where we knew our opponents were very strong, it means more attention was needed.”

The result left Milan in third place in the standings with 37 points after 17 games, level on points with second-placed Juventus and seven behind Napoli. Roma is at the sixth position with 31 points.

Milan had their first real chance of the game after 29 minutes when Brahim Diaz fired the ball just outside the box but his shot was saved by keeper Rui Patricio.

Diaz’s team-mate Pierre Kalulu put his side ahead when he headed in from a corner on the half-hour mark.

IMAGE: Roger Ibanez scores the first goal for Atletico Madrid. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Roma’s most important chance of the first half came three minutes before stoppage time when Nikola Zalewski took a shot from the edge of the box but it flew just wide of the post.

Milan kept up the pressure in the second half, seven minutes after the break Theo Hernandez shot from outside the box but Patricio was able to block.

Patricio also saved Olivier Giroud’s close header in the 54th minute.

Tommaso Pobega doubled Milan’s lead in the 77th minute when he was played into space in the box and fired the ball into the bottom right corner with one touch.

Roger Ibanez pulled one back for Roma three minutes before stoppage time when he was heading in a corner, and Abraham completed a late comeback six minutes later when he managed to dispatch a rebound from inside the box.

“Obviously, it is a bitter feeling. We are not looking at the difference with Napoli, just our performance and knowing that we need to do better to keep the momentum. We should have done better and now in the next games Must improve,” Pioli said.

Napoli retained their position at the top of the Serie A standings after beating Sampdoria 2–0. Luciano Spalletti’s team has 44 points from 17 matches.

Fourth-placed Inter Milan’s title ambitions suffered a blow on Saturday when a last-second own goal earned Monza a 2-2 draw. Inter trial Napoli by 10 points.

Juventus extended their Serie A winning streak to eight matches with a 1-0 win over Udinese, while fifth-placed Lazio was held to a 2-2 draw by Empoli.

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