Luis Suarez came back to haunt Barcelona as he, along with Thomas Lemar, helped Atletico Madrid beat Ronald Koeman & co. 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Barcelona had the majority of possession in the opening stages but it was Atletico Madrid that looked more dangerous in attack and broke the deadlock midway through the first half after a well-worked move that saw Joao Felix find Luis Suarez, who in turn fed Thomas Lemar, with the Frenchman beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 1-0.
A minute from half-time, the reigning La Liga champions doubled their advantage, with Lemar turning provider to Suarez this time out, with the Uruguayan scoring his first goal against Barcelona with a clinical strike. Post the half-time break, Barcelona looked a bit more purposeful, but failed to seriously test Jan Oblak, apart from one shot from Philippe Coutinho which the Slovenian saved brilliantly.
In fact, a few late counter-attacks presented Aletico with great chance to add to their lead, but they were unable to make those count as they held out for a comfortable victory at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The result sees Diego Simeone’s side rise to the second spot in La Liga while Ronald Koeman & co. find themselves in ninth place, further increasing the pressure on the underfire Dutchman. Here are our player ratings for both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona stars on the night.
Jan Oblak: 7/10
Hardly troubled on the night with Barcelona struggling to mount serious chances, especially in the first half. Pulled off a fine save to deny Philippe Coutinho around the hour mark to preserve his clean sheet.
Stefan Savic: 7/10
Solid and assured at the back, Savic read the game well and positioned himself smartly so as to cut out Barcelona’s attacks before they developed into a major threat. Aggressive in his challenges as usual.
Jose Maria Gimenez: 7.5/10
Marshalled the backline effectively throughout and was always present to cover for his defensive partners. Made as many as nine clearances on the night and was at hand to make a few crucial interventions as well.
Gran triunfo, banda 💪 A seguir… Esto recién empieza.
Hermoso ver al estadio repleto de nuevo después de tanto tiempo… MUCHAS GRACIAS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/D4u4lWsb8h
— Jose Maria Gimenez (@JoseMaGimenez13) October 2, 2021
Mario Hermoso: 6.5/10
Calm and composed on the ball, the Spanish international played some nice passes forward to put the Atletico attackers in. Not troubled overly when not in possession, although he did have one or two nervy moments at the back.
Marcos Llorente: 6.5/10
Starting at right wing-back, the Spaniard found himself having to do a lot of defensive work which curtailed his attacking contributions on the night. Still, no shortage of effort. Moved into midfield in the second half and was influential in that position as well.
Rodrigo De Paul: 6/10
The summer signing from Udinese was preferred over Geoffrey Kondogbia in midfield and put in the hard yards off the ball with Barelona hogging possession in the first period. Taken off at half-time, having been booked in the opening 45 minutes.
Might not always stand out like some of his attacking teammates, but got so much defensive work done to ensure that Barcelona did not pose a greater attacking threat. His passing made sure that Atletico never lost control of the proceedings.
Thomas Lemar: 8/10
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) October 2, 2021
One of his best displays in what has been a difficult time at Atletico Madrid. Sent an effort narrowly wide early on before taking his chance brilliantly to make it 1-0. Then created the second goal for Suarez with a peach of an assist. Worked hard defensively in the second half to help Atletico stay in front.
Yannick Carrasco: 6/10
Not quite at his best on the night, but did manage to make a few positive runs on the left side, asking questions of Oscar Mingueza and stretching the Barcelona defence on a couple of occasions.
Luis Suarez: 8/10
Came in with vengeance on his mind, and that is what he got on Saturday night, as he, along with the likes of Lemar and Felix, put the Barcelona defence to the sword. Fine link-up play throughout, with one such moment leading to him setting up the opening goal. Showed great composure to make it 2-0, beating former teammate Marc-Andre ter Stegen when one-on-one.
August 2020: Koeman told Luis Suarez he was too old to perform at the top level.
May 2021: Helps Atletico Madrid win their first La Liga title in seven years, finishing as their top scorer.
October 2021: Scores a goal, gets an assist and defeats Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/m0Q6utmimC
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 2, 2021
Joao Felix: 8/10
Looked in his elements on the night as he caused a whole lot of problems to the Barcelona defence with his movement and skill. Created spaces for others to run into by dragging players out of position, was silky on the ball, getting past opponents with ease and had a hand in both of Atletico’s goals on the night.
Kieran Trippier: 6/10
On for De Paul at half-time, slotting in at right-back with Llorente moving into midfield. Strong in his tackles, an outlet going forward.
Antoine Griezmann: 6/10
Came on for Suarez to make his first appearance against Barcelona after leaving the club in the summer. Had a few bright moments, but did waste a great opportunity to set Angel Correa up.
Angel Correa: 6/10
Replaced Felix for the final twenty minutes or so. Lively and energetic.
Renan Lodi: N/A
Sent on in place of Carrasco for the last ten minutes to help see out the game.
On for Hermoso in the 81st minute.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Not a lot he could have done about either goal as Lemar and Suarez finished briliantly. Let down by his defenders yet again. Distributed fairly well out from the back.
Oscar Mingueza: 5/10
Did well to stifle the threat of Carrasco on his flank but failed to provide anything in the attacking sense from the right-back position. Was caught out of position for both of Atletico Madrid’s goals.
Ronald Araujo: 5/10
A humbling experience for the Uruguayan centre-back who was dragged out of position time and again by Felix, which left acres of spaces for the hosts to exploit, something that they did effectively for both the goals. Did improve after the break and even tried to add a physical presence at the top late in the game as Barcelona searched for a goal, but did not have the right service.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
Pique is so finished rather than coming close to Luis Suarez he decided to go to the touch line.pic.twitter.com/LRTcMugu0A
— 🆎 (@abdullahAB17_) October 2, 2021
Like Araujo, was caught out of position time and again and struggled to cope with the Atletico Madrid attack. Partly culpable for the opener, was spotted arguing with Sergio Busquets after the goal. Did make a couple of strong challenges but seems to be on a downward spiral.
Sergino Dest: 5/10
Playing at left-back yet again despite Jordi Alba being fit and available, the USMNT international failed to offer much attacking intent on the side, and was more often than not quite predictable with his movements. Not entirely reassuring at the back either.
Sergio Busquets: 5/10
Becoming more and more apparent with every passing game that he is well past his prime. Playing in a midfield pivot alongside a young Nico Gonzalez, the veteran midfielder failed to offer any protection to his backline. A few defence-splitting passes aside, wasn’t effective on the ball either.
Nico Gonzalez: 4/10
🚨| #AtletiBarça | Koeman criticized Nico: “We can not leave spaces when we lose a ball. Nico did not continue after Lemar, he left him alone, now you know why we play with 3 CB.”
Why don’t you also criticize strong players and only young players? pic.twitter.com/bUvakWduti
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) October 2, 2021
A reality check for the youngster who found himself exposed time and again when Atletico broke forward and was caught out of position for both goals. Gave away a couple of needless fouls as well and was hooked at half-time.
Frenkie de Jong: 5/10
An ineffective outing from the Dutchman, but that was to be expected after Koeman shunted him out on the right flank for the first half, while he spent time out on the left before returning to the centre of the park. Did make some nice forward drives but none of it amounted to anything. Visibly frustrated on the field.
Philippe Coutinho: 5.5/10
Given a rare start through the middle, Coutinho exhibited a few bright spots in the first half and had Barcelona’s best chance of the night in the second, but saw his effort saved by Oblak. Did not pose a great threat otherwise.
60' BIG SAVE!
— Messaitama🤺🇦🇷 (@messaitama) October 2, 2021
One of the very positives from the game for Barcelona. Despite playing out of position, the youngster looked eager to get on the ball and make things happen, although the end product didn’t always have the quality. Did create a fine chance for Coutinho after the break.
Memphis Depay: 6/10
Put in so much effort to carve out openings but lacked support from those around him which meant he was unable to breach the Atletico Madrid defence. Wasn’t provided with much service to test Oblak either.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
On for Nico at half-time. Could not help change the course of the game, though.
Ansu Fati: 6/10
Sent on in place of Coutinho in the 64th minute. Asked questions of the Atletico defence and won a few free-kicks in dangerous positions. Wasn’t able to inspire a comeback, however.
Luuk de Jong: N/A
On for the final fifteen minutes. Ineffective.
Riqui Puig: N/A
Came on for Gavi in the 75th minute. Showed some neat touches but also gave away the ball cheaply at times.
Clement Lenglet: N/A
A late substitute for Dest.