Barcelona close in on LaLiga title as Suárez, Messi secure win
Late Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi goals sent Barça 11 points clear of Atlético, who played with 10 men for an hour after Diego Costa's red card.
Barcelona 2-0 Atlético Madrid: as it happened
Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid: match preview
Leaders Barcelona host Atlético Madrid tonight (20:45 CEST) in a top-of-the-table LaLiga clash which will decide - if not mathematically, then at least realistically - whether we still have a title race.
The Blaugrana's advantage over second-placed Atlético was trimmed to eight points on Tuesday evening, when Los Rojiblancos' 2-0 win over Girona was followed by a thrilling 4-4 draw at Villarreal in which a below-par Barça needed two last-gasp goals to salvage a share of the spoils.
That means that an Atlético win today would see what began the week as a 10-point gap halved to a comparatively tantalising five points; however, the visitors know they'll have to end a seriously barren run at the Camp Nou if they're to make that happen.
Indeed, not only has Diego Simeone never beaten Barça on their own patch in his seven years as Atlético boss, but no coach of any description has led Los Colchoneros to victory in the Catalan capital since a 3-1 league triumph under Pepe Murcia way back in February 2006.
Ernesto Valverde left Gerard Piqué, Ivan Rakitic and Lionel Messi out of his line-up in midweek, but the Barça coach is hardly likely to hold anything back tonight, even with the small matter of a Champions League quarter-final first leg at Manchester United coming up on Wednesday.
After all, anything other than three points for Atleti will ensure the reigning champions head into a broadly user-friendly LaLiga run-in - Huesca (a), Real Sociedad (h), Alavés (a), Levante (h), Celta Vigo (a), Getafe (h) and Eibar (a) - with a cushion few would tip them to relinquish.
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