Barcelona 2-1 Atletico: Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sink nine-man Madrid
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 31/01/16 11:29am
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored as Barcelona came from behind to beat nine-man Atletico Madrid 2-1 in a top-of-the-table clash at the Nou Camp.
Koke gave Atletico the lead after 10 minutes, before Messi equalised on the half-hour mark and Suarez put the home side in front before the interval.
Filipe Luis then saw red for a foul on Messi, and Diego Godin received a second yellow card for a wild tackle on Suarez midway through the second half.
The win sees Barcelona move three points clear of Atletico at the top of La Liga, with Luis Enrique's side also possessing a game in hand.
Atletico captain Gabi admitted before kick-off that his side were "hurting" from their Copa del Rey exit in midweek, and boss Diego Simeone would have been delighted with the way his side responded in the early stages at the Nou Camp.
The visitors took the game to Barcelona right from the outset, and it was thoroughly deserved when Koke gave them the lead after 10 minutes.
Saul Niguez brilliantly found some space in the corner before picking out a cross for Koke in the penalty box, and he made no mistake with a first-time side-footed finish past Claudio Bravo.
The pattern for the game was set as Barcelona looked to dominate while Atletico adopted a counter-attacking approach, but the hosts were soon level after some tricky play from Jordi Alba on the half-hour mark.
Alba utilised his space on the left to great effect with a pinpoint pass for Messi, who fired the ball past Jan Oblak.
Eight minutes later, Barcelona took the lead as Dani Alves delivered a searching ball over the top of Atletico's defence for Suarez, and the former Liverpool striker produced a composed finish through the legs of the goalkeeper.
Atletico's task became even harder on the stroke of half-time as Luis went in high on Messi, prompting a straight red card right in front of an enraged Luis Enrique in the Barcelona dugout.
Despite their disadvantage, Atletico came out for the second half in full pursuit of an equaliser, and it took a brilliant stop by Bravo to prevent Antoine Griezmann from equalising after 57 minutes, as the goalkeeper's trailing leg stopped the France international's shot at point-blank range after he had latched onto Yannick Ferreira Carrasco's cross.
But the away side's surge was stopped through another moment of stupidity with 25 minutes to go as Godin received a second yellow for a wild tackle on Suarez.
Barcelona finally re-asserted control of the game and substitute Arda Turan had a great chance to put the game to bed, on his 29th birthday against his former club, but he fired wide when left completely unmarked in the box.