Luis Suarez scored a late equaliser as Barcelona maintained their unbeaten run in La Liga with a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.
In a tight contest at the Wanda Metropolitano, Suarez’s powerful header (80) cancelled out Saul Niguez’s fine curled strike in the 20th minute to leave top-of-the-table Barcelona six points ahead of Atletico and five clear of second-placed Real Madrid.
Lionel Messi tested the Atletico defence on numerous occasions, including hitting the post in the second half and firing wide from close range, but it was Suarez’s header which broke down Atletico’s resolute backline 10 minutes from time.
The result means Barcelona remain unbeaten after eight games and are top of the league on 22 points. For Atletico, their home winning record this season is over as they leapfrog Valencia and Sevilla into third.
Messi gave the Atletico defence an early fright less than a minute in as he surged through their defence before narrowly placing his shot wide into the side netting.
Atletico quickly regained their composure and forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into two quick reflex saves eight minutes later, but Barcelona’s resolve would be broken in the 20th minute as Saul fired Atletico in front as he expertly curled the ball into the bottom-right corner from just outside the box.
Barcelona responded brightly and almost found the equaliser through Suarez five minutes from half-time, but Stefan Savic stepped in to make a crucial block and deny his goalbound effort.
Messi struck the post with a free-kick from 25 yards just over 10 minutes into the second half, before firing wide a left-footed attempt aimed for Oblak’s right corner.
But Barcelona did find the goal they were looking for in the 82nd minute as substitute Sergi Roberto whipped in a fine cross to the far post which Suarez powerfully headed into the net, silencing the home support inside the packed-out Wanda Metropolitano.
Messi had a final chance in injury time with a free-kick, but he drilled his strike straight into the grateful arms of Oblak to ensure the game finished all square.
Although the Atletico defence was broken in the end, Savic put in an excellent display and showed why he’s so highly regarded in Spain.
The former Manchester City defender put in a goal-saving block from a Suarez strike in the first half. He also cut out numerous Barcelona attacking moves to cap off a fine defensive display.