Barça 1-0 Atléti: Barcelona go 8 clear at the top of La Liga

Barcelona took a huge step to regaining the Spanish La Liga title with a 1-0 win at home to second place Atlético Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Lionel Messi’s goal on 26 minutes proved to be the winning goal as Ernesto Valverde’s side dominated the game in keeping their unbeaten record in the league this season.

Atlético Madrid’s stubborn defence were unlocked by Messi’s free kick in the first half – the second successive game in which the Argentine has just that, following Thursday’s 1-1 draw at Las Palmas.  Today’s goal was the 600th of Messi’s career.

Jan Oblak was forced into a smart, reflex save to deny Sergio Busquets volley from a corner but otherwise the goalkeeper was largely well protected despite Barcelona dominating possession and territory.

Barcelona’s big January signing, Philippe Coutinho fired in a couple of efforts on goal, starting the game on the right of a front three before finishing on the opposite flank following Andrés Iniesta‘s hamstring injury after only 36 minutes.

Marc-André ter Stegen was only forced into one save all game despite Atlético Madrid finishing the game with Diego Costa, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro and Ángel Correa on the field.

Whilst Simeone’s side appear to be out of the title race now, they still have a seven-point lead over rivals Real Madrid down in third.