65 min Vidal is lucky not to be booked for a lunging foul on Diego Costa.
GOAL! Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid (Saul 62 pen)
Saul scores his second penalty! He went the same way, low to the right – but this time ter Stegen went the right way and probably should have saved it. It slithered through his hands and in off the post.
61 min: PENALTY TO ATLETICO! It’s the third penalty of the game. Semedo fouled Carrasco, though I’m not sure he meant it. Semedo kneed Carrasco’s trailing leg onto his standing leg, which knocked him off balance and gave the referee little choice.
61 min Messi is booked for kicking the ball away after the referee penalised him for a challenge on Lodi.
58 min Puig makes a superb off-the-ball run into the Atletico area. Messi almost picks him up with a delicious pass from the right wing, but it’s just too heavy and Puig can’t control it on the stretch.
56 min: Chance for Costa! That was so much better from Atletico. Arias played a give-and-go with Llorente on the right and drove an excellent cross towards Diego Costa. He towered over Vidal and planted a downward header just wide of the far post.
55 min Griezmann and Ansu Fati are warming up. If Fati replaces Luis Suarez, Twitter will eat itself.
54 min Barcelona have dominated the start of the second half. In the circumstances, this would be an excellent win. Despite all their problems, all the fiascos of the season, they could end up winning La Liga and the Champions League.
53 min “A cursory Google search revealed that Teddy Sheringham is the Premier League’s oldest goal scorer at 40 years and 266 days, for West Ham in December 2006,” says Matt Burtz. “There’s hope for me yet!”
Depends how many yards you can run in your head.
51 min Felipe, who has had an abysmal couple of minutes, is harshly booked for a sliding collision with Busquets.
That was a delightful penalty, kissed softly into the net as Oblak dived to the left.
GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Messi 50 pen)
Lionel Messi scores the 700th goal of his career with the jauntiest of Panenkas!
48 min: PENALTY TO BARCELONA! Felipe kicks the bottom of Semedo’s foot just inside the area, and the referee gives a penalty. I think it was a foul.
47 min “Rob, apparently the Pjanic-Arthur swap is a deal to make the books look good, as the always excellent Swiss Ramble explains,” says Alberto Tobias. “Barcelona already did something similar last year when they swapped goalkeepers with Valencia (Cilessen for Neto).”
Thanks, that’s interesting.
If it stays like this, Barcelona will be a point behind Real Madrid having played a game more. Madrid also have the head-to-head advantage.
“What has happened to Jordi Alba?” says Charles Antaki. “He used to be a guaranteed source of runs and crosses from the left, and he’s been invisible in recent Barça games. Not that things are happening much on the right with Semedo; has the new(ish) manager turned his back on the currently fashionable wing-backery?”
Strange, isn’t it, especially given his link-up with Messi. And Barcelona are playing a diamond midfield tonight, which usually requires the full-backs to do 90 minutes of shuttle runs.
Half time: Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Peep peep! That was an enjoyable half of football, and the scoreline is about right. Diego Costa had a desperate five minutes, scoring a comedy own goal and having a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. But VAR spotted that ter Stegen was off his line, and Saul scored from the retake. Messi had been a menace at one end, Carrasco – who won the penalty – a big threat at the other. See you in 15 minutes for the second half.
45+3 min Carrasco charges at the backpedalling Barcelona defence and drives a fierce low shot that is blocked. The ball rebounds off Costa, possibly hitting his elbow, and is put behind for a corner. Thankfully for Barcelona and VAR protocol, nothing comes of the corner.
45+1 min “Do we talk enough about Messi’s passing?” says Stephen Carr. “It’s consistently, utterly brilliant.”
It feels like it has been recognised appropriately in the last couple of years, even if it is still sometimes overshadowed by his finishing and dribbling.
42 min Messi’s deflected free-kick is slapped over the bar by Oblak, who had to change direction at the last minute. In the end it was a really good save.
41 min Puig produces a lovely bit of skill to beat Partey, who responds by booting him up in the air 30 yards from goal. He’s lucky not to be booked for that. Messi may yet inflict an alternative punishment.
39 min The young midfielder Riqui Puig has had a decent half, but that aside Messi has had very little support.
38 min “Suarez is playing?” sniffs Paul Fitzgerald.
He hasn’t been at his best.
35 min Saul is booked for a cynical foul on Messi, who has been a one-man attack for much of this half.
33 min A chance for Atletico. A low cross from the right, from Arias I think, found Llorente in space 10 yards from goal. He miscontrolled the ball, and Correa behind him couldn’t take the ball in his stride. Llorente’s was the big chance.