Injury problems put the brakes on Messi

Presents and no presence

Madrid gifted a half and a penalty, and that was enough to see out a bad period of the game with a draw. After the break, they turned in an exemplary performance, in which they scored from Sergio Ramos’ fierce header, but couldn’t add to it. They pushed, had an abundance of corners, and a credible amounts of shots, but did not score any more. One of the reasons for this was Asenjo, who had a good game. Another reason was Cristiano Ronaldo, who didn't turn up, nor did Benzema who was substituted in the second half shortly after Bale. Lucas Vázquez and Morata improved the frontline while they were on. The BBC didn’t perform. Bale the only one who saved face.

Referee frustrations.

Losing control to injury

And this draw preceded another. Barça performed, in their groove, dictating the game through possession, against an Atlético whose line-up was more courageous than their play. They protected themselves well, but then conceded a goal straight from the chalkboard, as was given away by the celebration between Luis Enrique and assistant Unzue. With the scoreline in their favour and the ball in their possession, Barcelona seemed to be in control of the game when the two teams went to the break. But upon their return they were hit with two calamities: injuries to Busquets and Messi, whose muscle problems are going to have a big say in this season, I think.

Lionel Messi leaves the pitch next to coach Luis Enrique.

Missed opportunity

Atlético, who had arrived brave, were then even more so. Simeone brought on Correa and Torres, who combined for the goal. And it was quick in coming, thanks to Correa, striking at the hole in the culé defence. But from that moment, Simeone lost courage. It wasn’t about finishing off Barça, who made the effort to lift themselves at a difficult time. The rest of the match belonged to Barça, with Pique banging the drum, Neymar creating the danger and Iniesta delivering his usual lesson. But it was not enough: they missed Messi. The match slid towards its end with a few scares for Oblak but no goals. A draw. An opportunity missed for all three.