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First Division - Day 25

Atlético Madrid 1 - Barcelona 2

Atlético: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda Godín, Filipe Luis; Tiago, Gabi; Adrián, Koke (Salvio 76'), Arda Turan (Silvio 86'); Falcao. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves (Cuenca 71'), Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Alexis (Piqué 84'), Messi, Fábregas (Pedro 78'). 4-3-3.

0-1. 35. Dani Alves. Turned ball in on far post after Fàbregas passed across.
1-1. 48. Falcao. Far post volley after Busquets headed back Gabi's corner.
1-2. 81. Messi. Curled quick free kick over defensive wall in to far top corner.

Yellow cards: Messi 07', Godín 23', Juanfran 24', Turan 29', Fàbregas 45', Tiago 60', Dani Alves 70', Alexis 76', Falcao 84', Busquets 89'.

Barcelona kept their slim hopes of catching Madrid alive after a 1-2 victory at Atlético Madrid in the last match on Sunday evening. Messi got the ball in the net only to be pulled up for a hand ball early on, and Xavi tested Courtois with a free kick a few minutes later. Alexis also thought he should have had a penalty, but with ten minutes to go to the break Barça took the lead after Messi and Fàbregas combined to set up Dani Alves. Up to that point Víctor Valdés had been a mere bystander, but he had to be on his toes to save from Falcao shortly before the interval. And three minutes after the restart he could nothing when Busquets deflected a Gabi corner in to the path of the Colombian striker for him to volley in the equaliser. Soon afterwards Mascherano did well to block a shot from Filipe Luis, and Falcao was pulled up incorrectly for offside when free on goal. Alexis headed a chance wide for the visitors, but Valdés saved the day again when he came out quickly to prevent Falcao from lobbing the ball over his head and in to the net. A few minutes later Barça were awarded a free kick on the left of the area, and with the Atlético players still messing about with their defensive wall, Messi stepped up to curl a shot over Courtois in to the far top corner of the net. Valdés had to make a couple of important saves from Juanfran and Gabi after that to ensure the three points, but Messi's goal had won the day. A first defeat for Atlético under new coach Simeone, and Guardiola's side had negotiated another difficult hurdle. The problem is that Madrid are already three fences ahead of them!