Atletico Madrid

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La Liga: Barcelona hit Atleti late, but lose perfect record

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MADRID (AP) Barcelona lost its perfect Spanish league record and salvaged a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid with a late equalizer by Luis Suarez on Saturday.

Suarez scored with a header from close range in the 82nd minute to leave Barcelona five points ahead of Real Madrid, which defeated Getafe 2-1 with a late winner by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Atletico contained Lionel Messi and was in control of the game until Suarez found the net after being ineffective for most of the match.

Saul Niguez gave the hosts the lead at their Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with a well-placed shot from outside the area in the first half.

The draw left Atletico in third place, six points behind Barcelona, which won its first seven league matches.

Sevilla dropped to fourth place, also six points off the lead, after losing at Athletic Bilbao 1-0.

Atletico was looking to win the first high-profile game of the league and establish itself as a contender beside Barcelona and Madrid.

Barcelona, which had outscored opponents 23-2, controlled possession but it was Atletico which was able to create the most significant opportunities. Antoine Griezmann had two clear chances denied by Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen early.

Atletico did a good job stopping Messi, after his starring role to put Argentina in the World Cup. He has 14 goals in 11 matches with Barcelona but was shut out at the Metropolitano. A second-half free kick hit the post.

Suarez, who was also coming off a long trip with Uruguay, struggled until jumping between Atletico defenders to head in a cross by substitute Sergi Roberto.

Two weeks after playing behind closed doors to protest the Spanish government’s moves to halt Catalonia’s independence referendum, Barcelona was met with Spanish flags, and outspoken defender Gerard Pique was loudly jeered by the local fans.

Ronaldo had been mostly subdued for Madrid until scoring the 85th-minute winner at Alfonso Perez Coliseum in southern Madrid.

After a perfect long pass by Isco, Ronaldo let the ball bounce and fired in for his first league goal of the season.

“We know that when we need Cristiano, he is always there for us,” Madrid left back Marcelo said.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Madrid with a great run into the area, getting past a defender with a quick touch before sending a low shot into the far corner. It was also his first league goal. The French striker was returning from injury.

Striker Jorge Molina equalized for the hosts early in the second half. Replays showed Molina was offside.

Getafe, which had a few chances to equalize in the final minutes, also conceded late goals in home losses to Sevilla and Barcelona. It dropped to 14th in the 20-team standings.

“We can’t allow this to keep happening,” Molina said of the late goals. “Maybe we shouldn’t have stayed only on defense, maybe we could have pressed a little bit more.”

Madrid got the win even though coach Zinedine Zidane couldn’t count on several regulars following the international break.

After Argentina miracle, Messi leads Barcelona at Atletico

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi has willed Argentina into the World Cup.

Now he can exhale and get back to what he does best: Keeping Barcelona atop the Spanish league.

Just when the stakes couldn’t have been higher, Messi struck three goals to bring Argentina back for a 3-1 win at Ecuador on Tuesday and seize a last-minute ticket to Russia.

The star forward will have little chance to rest, however, with Barcelona counting on him to lead the team in its visit to Atletico Madrid on Saturday in the Spanish capital.

THE SAVIOR

Messi has won a combined 17 trophies for Barcelona in the Champions League, Spanish league and Copa del Rey.

But his success with Barcelona has only increased the pressure on him to deliver silverware for Argentina. So far, he has lifted Argentina to only finals in the World Cup and Copa America.

Argentina struggled to produce goals throughout South American qualifying for the World Cup heading into the must-win match in Quito. And its chances looked grim when Ecuador scored in the first minute.

“It would’ve been crazy if Argentina didn’t play the World Cup,” Messi said after his hat trick.

FORGET NEYMAR

When Neymar bolted for Paris Saint-Germain in August, Barcelona entered into panic mode and scrambled to buy players to fill the gap left by the Brazil striker.

It had to break a club record for spending on a transfer to pry Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, only for the France forward to tear a tendon in his left leg in just his third appearance.

But throughout the turmoil and turnover, Messi has responded by playing one of his best periods of football.

The 30-year-old Messi has 11 goals in seven league matches, including one four-goal outing and a treble. That has helped Barcelona outscore opponents 23-2 in the league.

He has also netted twice in the Champions League in wins over Juventus and Sporting Lisbon.

NEXT UP

Atletico is the most serious test yet for Barcelona in the league.

Yet, despite its reputation as one of the toughest defensive sides in Spain, Atletico is one of Messi’s favorite victims.

Messi has scored against Atletico 27 times in 34 matches across all competitions, including 12 at its former stadium.

Atletico hosts Barcelona for the first time at its new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Atletico is unbeaten in the league, although it lost to Chelsea 2-1 at home in the Champions League.

Barcelona leads second-place Sevilla by five points. Atletico is fourth and trails the pacesetter by six points.

Real Madrid is seven points adrift before visiting Getafe on Saturday.

La Liga: Sevilla right on Barca’s tails; Atleti stumble in 0-0 draw

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MADRID (AP) — A lackluster 0-0 draw at Leganes dropped Atletico Madrid to third place in the Spanish league on Saturday.

The result came three days after Atletico’s first loss of the season, to Chelsea in the Champions League.

This time it avoided defeat thanks to a great performance by goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who made great saves against Leganes.

Sevilla moved into second place, two points behind Barcelona, by defeating Malaga 2-0 at home. Barcelona and Real Madrid play on Sunday.

Leganes, in its second season in the first division, remained seventh after its third straight game without a loss. It has conceded only three goals, and it threatened the most at Butarque Stadium, forcing Oblak to make three difficult saves in the second half, including one in the final minutes.

Atletico’s main chance was a header by Diego Godin that was brilliantly saved by Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar midway through the second half.

Atletico was unable to take control of the game, even after coach Diego Simeone tried to shake things up by changing formation. At one point he replaced forward Antoine Griezmann with defender Sime Vrsaljko, and moved more players to the midfield to try to create more chances.


Sevilla defeated Malaga 2-0 with goals two minutes apart in the second half.

Ever Banega converted a 68th-minute penalty kick and Luis Muriel quickly added to the lead to give Sevilla its fourth win in the last five matches in all competitions.

Banega opened the scoring after Joaquin Correa was fouled inside the area to prompt the penalty kick, and Muriel scored after a run from near midfield following a mistake by the Malaga defense.

“We dominated the entire game, we just had to find a way to score,” Muriel said.

It was Malaga’s sixth loss in seven league matches, dropping it to last place in the 20-team standings with one point.

“We were playing our best when we conceded the goals,” Malaga defender Miguel Torres said. “Unfortunately we made some mistakes. We have to apologize to the fans. It’s been a tough start to the season.”


Alaves finally earned its first win, at Levante 2-0 thanks to Munir El Haddadi’s goal in the first half and Alvaro Medran’s in the second.

Alaves lost its previous six matches, scoring only once.

It was a surprising start for the team which last season finished in the top half of the standings and made it to the Copa del Rey final.

Levante, back in the first division after being relegated a season ago, stayed ninth.

“Very important win” and “big test” – Chelsea reacts to Atleti comeback

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Atletico Madrid had lost just one of its last 23 home Champions League matches, but Chelsea made that two in 24.

The Blues trailed 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano, but came back through Alvaro Morata and a Michy Batshuayi stoppage time winner to seize control of Group C before an Oct. 18 visit from AS Roma.

[ RECAP: Atletico Madrid 1-2 Chelsea ]

And if you think the Blues aren’t aware of the victory’s special nature, read on (from the BBC):

  • Eden Hazard“We are very happy. It was a tough game against one of the biggest teams in Europe. We deserved to win the game. Atletico Madrid defend well and both teams are strong at blocking the attackers.”
  • Alvaro Morata: “It is a very important win for us. It was a big test. Atletico Madrid were in the Champions League final a few years ago and now we can go home relaxed and put this mentality into the Premier League.”

Batshuayi scores at the death as Chelsea wins at Atleti

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Michy Batshuayi‘s stoppage time goal lifted Chelsea to a dramatic comeback 2-1 win over hosts Atletico Madrid 1-1 in UEFA Champions League action at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.

Alvaro Morata’s second half goal offset a David Luiz-conceded penalty as Chelsea equalized vs. Atletico Madrid, setting the stage for Batshuayi.

Antoine Griezmann scored Atleti’s PK.

Atleti next plays Oct. 18 at Qarabag, while Chelsea hosts AS Roma at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

It didn’t take long for Chelsea to show promise of an opener, and Eden Hazard was among the Blues to challenge Atleti backstop Jan Oblak.

Yet it was Atleti who’d go ahead in the 40th minute through a penalty, with David Luiz conceding the opportunity with a shove on a corner kick. Griezmann finished his chance because, well, Griezmann.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Morata kept paying Chelsea back for their massive purchase, bagging an equalizer off a nice feed from Hazard.

And Morata was knocking on the door again, but missed wide of the post after beating Oblak.

Chelsea would’ve been content with the point, but Batshuayi buried a Marcos Alonso cross to keep the Blues atop Group C.