Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Thomas Partey delighted with new Atletico Madrid deal

Thomas Partey delighted with new Atletico Madrid deal

Messi is the leading scorer in La Liga this season with 24 goals and is also the all-time top marksman in Spain's top flight.

The French forward has seven goals in his last two La Liga outings and will be hoping to fill his boots once again as Atleti look to close the gap on their title rivals.

Barcelona remained undefeated after 27 rounds and dealt Atletico just its second defeat in the league this season.

When the game resumed, Atletico sought to put the pressure on Barcelona, while coach Diego Simeone brought in Angel Correa and Kevin Gameiro for Vrsaljko and Gabi, searching for the equalizer.

"The numbers are what they are".

Atletico arrived on the back of eight consecutive wins but Barcelona halted the surge and instead restored their own lead at the top to eight points, with 11 games left to play.

Ernesto Valverde has admitted that he has prepared for Barcelona's meeting with Atletico Madrid as though it's a major final. Defensively, Diego Godin and Luis Gimenez will be crucial if the away side are to keep Barcelona quiet.

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But while Messi was enjoying himself, Iniesta had been limping through much of the first half following a collision with Saul Niguez and eventually had to be replaced by Andre Gomes after 35 minutes.

His first strike came in May 1, 2005's 2-0 win against Albacete in La Liga, scooping the ball over the top of goalkeeper Raul Valbuena to become Barca's youngest-ever goalscorer aged 17.

Atletico were content to play on the break in the early stages, so Barca had most of the ball.

The only blot on a dominant Barcelona performance was an injury to Andres Iniesta, who had to be substituted after 34 minutes with what the club later confirmed was a strain in the back of his thigh.

Coutinho twice drew saves from Oblak and Gerard Pique headed over from a corner, but Barca could not find a second before the interval.

Simeone reiterated that direct football with quick transitions where they can involve their physically powerful striker Diego Costa could be the key to the match against Barca.

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