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Jan 12, 2014

At the half way stage of the 2013-14 season, FC Barcelona remain on the top the table courtesy of goal difference after being tied at 50 points with Atletico Madrid. It was expected that one of these teams would move clear of the other after tonight's encounter. That wasn't meant to be as the first La Liga clash between the table toppers ended in a goal less draw. Tata Martino, the Barca coach could be pretty happy with the result as this was considered to be the toughest test for his team in the League this season. Atletico meanwhile, would have to be disappointed a bit after creating some good counter attacking moves, backed up with a crowd which made the Vicente Calderon resemble a bull ring. On the pitch, it was indeed a bull fight which went on.Martino surprised everyone when he announced a starting line-up minus both Neymar and Messi at the top of the table clash. In the absence of the two superstars, Cesc, Pedro and Alexis formed the front three. The midfield had the usual Iniesta, Busquets and Xavi formation. The defense was along expected lines with Alves, Pique, Mascherano and Alba lining up in front of Victor Valdes. Atletico Madrid started with Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Luis, Tiago, Gabi, Koke, Turan, Costa and Villa

As expected Atletico Madrid came out fully focussed and with full force. Their intense pressing game was causing us serious discomfort and with just minutes past in the clock, we were kind of hoping that Messi is introduced. In the 5th minute Pique cleared a chance of Turan after the attacker left our defense out of position. In the very next minute Costa had shot at goal which was well saved by Valdes. It took almost 15 minutes for Barca to take some control of the possession and we slowly started seeing some half chances being created. In the 17th minute Pedro had the first shot on target for Barca with Courtois making a decent save. In the 23rd minute we had a serious escape when the linesman flagged Villa for a tight offside call, which could have gone either way. He was through on goal there. In the 27th minute Costa saw his sliding effort go wide of the post from a Koke corner. In the 33rd minute Iniesta whipped in a great cross into the box, but Pedro could only head it high over the bar. In the 35th minute Pique forced a decent save from Courtois from a long range effort. Even though we were surprised by the initial frenzy of Atletico, one has to admit that we slowly settled into at least disturbing their rhythm. Both teams were struggling to create approaching the half time.

Martino brought in Messi at half time in place of Iniesta who were one of the better performers in the first half, but was struggling with a knock picked up in the first half. Messi made his mark immediately forcing a save from Courtois from a tight angle after leaving a marking defender in his trail. But what worried everyone was that Messi appeared to have picked up a knock in that attempt and was showing a little discomfort. In the 59th minute Diego Costa flashed a shot wide after Atletico broke in a quick counter. Despite the Messi's presence Atletico was emerging really dangerous, feeding on some excellent pressing from their midfield players. In the 67th minute Martino brought in Neymar in place of Sanchez, who was virtually absent for most of the game. In the 69th minute Messi set in a short run into the box past two defenders, worked the ball to Alba wide on the left whose return cross he could only guide wide of the post. In the 77th minute Costa headed high from an inswinging Luiz delivery, that was another half chance which went begging. In the 79th minute Valdes did well to stop a an Adrian volley from inside the box after our defense failed to clear the danger. In the 81st minute Messi danced into the box from a counter before forcing an excellent low save from Courtois. In the 82nd minute Martino brought in Sergi Roberto in place of Pedro in an effort to add more offensive strength in midfield. The final minutes of the game saw us making one last push for the game, but Atletico defense held strong securing the draw.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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