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Messi 7/10 but cannot inspire Barcelona as Griezmann struggles

Published on: 08 May 2021

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid played out a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou on Saturday to hand Real Madrid the advantage in the La Liga title race.

Atletico stay top for now but they will be replaced by Madrid if Zinedine Zidane's side beat Sevilla on Sunday. Barca, meanwhile, remain two points behind Atletico with just three games to play.

Both teams had their goalkeepers to thank for Saturday's result. Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a string of first-half saves to keep Barca in the game, while Jan Oblak produced two fine stops to keep out Lionel Messi. Substitute Ousmane Dembele had a great chance to win it for the home side late on, but the Frenchman headed over when unmarked from just six yards out.

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Positives

Barca's title hopes are hanging by a thread but they're not dead. Not yet anyway. They now need both Atletico and Madrid to either lose one game or draw two of their remaining three if they want to win the title. It's unlikely, but it's not impossible.

Negatives

In drawing with Atletico, Barca surrendered their head-to-head record against Diego Simeone's side this season, which is the tiebreaker in the event two sides end the campaign on equal points. That means Barca will have to get more points than both Atletico and Madrid to finish above them, which could be key in such an even battle for top spot.

Barca's first half was especially bad, perhaps influenced by a head injury to Sergio Busquets, who had to be taken to the hospital after a clash of heads with Stefan Savic. They were cut open far too easily, conceding a slew of chances, and, one moment of Messi brilliance aside, created nothing fitting of a side supposedly fighting to win the league.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Koeman served the second of a two-game touchline ban but he still carries the can for how Barca played in the first half. There's also an argument, given Barca's position in the league, he should have been more aggressive late on.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 8 -- The German goalkeeper made six first-half saves and was the loudest voice on the pitch when it came to organising the defence.

DF Oscar Mingueza, 5 -- Struggled against the skillful Yannick Carrasco and paid the price by being taken off at the break for Ronald Araujo.

DF Gerard Pique, 6 -- Saw a good headed chance saved by Oblak and then moments later, at the other end, made a great interception to stop the galivanting Carrasco. Had looked lethargic until that point.

DF Clement Lenglet, 5 -- Made a crucial block on Angel Correa in the first half. In the second half, he took the ball off Araujo's head when the Uruguayan looked certain to score and then set up Luis Suarez with a sliced clearance.

MF Sergino Dest, 6 -- Started well and had the beating of Mario Hermoso but didn't offer the sustained threat on the right that was needed.

Lionel Messi has Barcelona's best chances but was unable to come out with what would have been a vital goal for the title hopefuls. Getty

MF Frenkie de Jong, 7 -- Worked hard and carried the ball forward a lot but was unable to get into positions in the final third to hurt Atletico.

MF Sergio Busquets, 6 -- It became apparent how much order he was giving Barcelona when he was forced off with a head injury in the 32nd minute.

MF Pedri, 6 -- Saw a lot of the ball but couldn't work his magic between the lines. Good cross for the Araujo goal that was ruled out for offside.

MF Jordi Alba, 6 -- Struggled to find much space on the left but produced a great cross to set up the late Dembele chance.

FW Lionel Messi, 7 -- Even with Barca on the back foot, he produced the best moment of the game, beating six Atletico players before seeing his shot tipped wide by the brilliant Oblak. The Slovenian later made a good save from a Messi free kick.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 -- Didn't offer enough support for Messi in the final third, with his only chances easy for Oblak.

Substitutes

MF Ilaix Moriba, 6 -- Replaced the injured Busquets for the final hour, minutes which will hugely benefit his development.

DF Ronald Araujo, 6 -- Helped make Barca more solid at the back and was a threat at set plays, heading in a goal that was ruled out for offside.

MF Sergi Roberto, N/R -- Came on for Pedri but didn't add a lot.

FW Ousmane Dembele, N/R -- Made a difference when he came on with his pace and directness but what will be remembered for his late miss.

Source: espn.co.uk

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