Robert Lewandowski helps Barcelona stay in title race with emphatic win over Atletico Madrid

Barcelona move two points ahead of third-placed Verona after Athletic Bilbao moved above them on Saturday, while Atletico now sit fifth.
Robert Lewandowski inspired a revived Barcelona with a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday and kept their faint La Liga title hopes alive.
Lewandowski set up goals for Joao Felix and Fermín López and pulled Barcelona into second place, eight points behind leaders Real Madrid.

The Catalans, who returned to the Champions League quarter-finals this week after four years, became the first team to beat Atlético at the Metropolitano Stadium this season.

Robert Lewandowski

Barcelona were the last team to win in the top flight at Atletico in January 2023, with Diego Simeone’s side going 25 matches without defeat in the intervening period.

They lost to Xavi Hernandez’s side, who have now won five in a row over Atlético and are unbeaten in 10 matches since the coach said he would leave at the end of the season.

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Barcelona move two points ahead of third-placed Verona after Athletic Bilbao moved above them on Saturday, while Atletico now sit fifth.
“I will put more pressure (on the players) than ever before,” Xavi told DAZN, leaving no stone unturned in Barcelona’s title defence.

“And now that I’m leaving, even more – we will try to improve and compete for La Liga and the Champions League, the two most important trophies.”
Atletico played 120 minutes against Inter Milan in Europe on Wednesday and although Barcelona had beaten Napoli the day before, it was Simeone’s team who made the brighter start.

Pablo Barrios spurned a good early chance and 17-year-old star Pau Cubarsi had Alvaro Morata’s effort blocked.

However Barcelona took the lead after 38 minutes of play.

Ilkay Gundogan advanced from midfield and found Lewandowski, who squared for on-loan forward Felix to turn home against his parent club.

The Portuguese striker once again proved a thorn in the side of Atlético when the teams met in December, scoring the only goal and being whistled at full time by the home fans.

  • ‘They were the best’ –
    Xavi was dismissed before the break due to dissent, but his team started the second half regardless.

Simeone sent on Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay, looking for more spark in the final third.

Lewandowski doubled Barcelona’s lead with a quick, lethal finish after Rodrigo De Paul fed the ball into a dangerous area.

Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a brilliant save to keep out Marcos Llorente but Atletico were beginning to tire after their midweek exploits.

Lopez scored Barca’s third goal after being set up by Lewandowski with an inch-perfect cross, with the experienced Polish striker offering one of his best performances for the club.
The goal capped off an excellent week for López, who also scored in the win over Napoli.

“We are believing until the end, (we are) now in second place, trying to close the gap on points and fight for La Liga,” Lopez told DAZN.

Atletico’s Nahuel Molina was sent off for bringing down Vitor Roque late on as Barcelona capped their impressive win by keeping a fourth consecutive clean sheet in the league.

“They were excellent, they missed their first chance to score,” Simeone told DAZN.

“We will keep trying for fourth place, it will be difficult, difficult, that’s normal… We have to keep improving, a lot.”


  • ‘Freedom’ –

Earlier, Almeria ended a disappointing run by beating Las Palmas 1–0 to get their first La Liga win of the season.

The Andalusian side had won 31 league games last season through May, but Leo Baptistao’s 14th-minute goal capped a dreadful performance in coach Pepe Mel’s first match in charge.

Despite the win on the road, Mel’s side are still in 20th place with nine matches remaining and 14 points safe.

Almeria’s 31-match winless streak is the longest in the division’s history, but they are now level with Sporting Gijón’s lowest point total since 1997–98.

“Winning today is liberating (for the team)… to win three points and change the dynamic,” Mel said.

The win ensured that Almería would never collect fewer than 11 points from Derby County in the Premier League in 2007–08, the lowest total in Europe’s top leagues since teams began earning three points for a win. .

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