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15 July 2024

Barcelona ends Atletico’s winning run, moves closer to title

Published
By AP

Barcelona ended Atletico Madrid’s unbeaten run — and its own slump — with a hard-fought 1-0 win in the Spanish league on Sunday, moving closer to its first league title in four years.
The victory halted a six-game winning streak and 13-game unbeaten run for Atletico, which lost ground to Real Madrid in the fight for second place. Barcelona, meanwhile, restored a comfortable 11-point lead over Madrid with eight rounds remaining.
Madrid, focused on the Champions League and the Copa del Rey final, beat Celta Vigo 2-0 at home on Saturday.
Ferran Torres scored a 44th-minute winner at Camp Nou with a well-placed low shot from just inside the area, giving Barcelona its first victory after a three-match winless run that had prompted fears of a meltdown entering the final stretch.
Barcelona hadn’t scored in three straight games after being humiliated at home by Madrid 4-0 in the Copa del Rey semifinals and held to scoreless draws against modest league opponents in Girona and Getafe.
It was the 23rd clean sheet in the league this season for Barcelona, which last won the league title in 2019.
Third-place Atletico trails Madrid by five points.
It was the third straight win by Barcelona over Atletico, whose last win against the Catalan club was in 2021. It lost at home to Barcelona in their first league game this season.
Atletico, the 2021 champion, threatened first with a shot by Antoine Griezmann that hit the crossbar three minutes into the match, but Diego Simeone’s team couldn’t create many significant opportunities after that.
Atletico struggled early in the season, quickly falling out of contention for the league title and finishing its Champions League group in last place, but it had been the hottest team in Spain in 2023.