Lionel Messi helps Barcelona secure 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid

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Lionel Messi returns to score the winner for Barcelona over title challengers Atletico Madrid as they move top of the La Liga table.

The first half was a close affair, with Barcelona dominating possession as typical fashion, but Atletico showing their attacking prowess on the counter with both sides failing to find the target.

The second half brought a more open game, with Diego Simeone's team taking the lead through a Fernando Torres goal.


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Barcelona fought back through a perfectly-placed Neymar free-kick and snatched victory through substitute Lionel Messi, who finished well to gift his team the three points.

The first half began as would be expected from Barcelona as the Catalans controlled possession throughout the early minutes of the game.

The away side created the first real chance of the match as a well-placed outside-of-the-foot ball from Andres Iniesta found Ivan Rakitic on the right side of the box, the midfielder fired straight at Jan Oblak who parried away.

Atletico Madrid's earlier opportunities came from the counter attack. Antoine Griezmann dispossessed Javier Mascherano near the Barcelona box with Torres making the run with the loose ball into the away side's box but fired his effort over the bar.

Luis Suarez hit the bar after 24 minutes as a lofted ball found the Uruguayan at the far post, on the full stretch he hit the ball off of the Atletico bar with a little touch off Oblak.

Neymar had a couple of chances before the half-time whistle, with his best a miscued half-volley dragging wide of the post.

Second half

The second half opened up as both sides realised they needed goals after a more tense first half.

The prayers were quickly answered for Atletico as Tiago played a ball straight through the Barcelona defence, with Torres running onto the pass and sliding a well-placed shot past Marc-André ter Stegen and off of the post to give the home team the important lead.

Only four minutes later Barcelona had their reply with a 25-yard Neymar free-kick swerving perfectly past a helpless Oblak for the 55 minute equaliser.

Ten minutes later Neymar should have added to his tally as his lofted effort found its way past Oblak, only to be blocked by the arm of Diego Godin which should have resulted in a penalty for the away side.

Messi wins it for Barcelona

After the introduction of Messi he quickly found himself back on the all to familiar score sheet as he was played behind the Atletico defence after some smart interchange play to slot in a simple finish giving his side the 2-1 lead.

Colombian Striker Jackson Martinez had a small opportunity on goal when a great bit of control from his chest allowed him to turn and only miscue his shot towards Ter Stegen.

The game finished with a 2-1 win for Barcelona in a big match against potential title challengers as Luis Enrique's side aim to hold onto their domestic title this campaign. 

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