MADRID – Lionel Messi came to Barcelona’s rescue for the second time in a week by snatching a late winner to give his side a barely deserved 2-1 win at Atlético Madrid on Sunday which provisionally took the champions top of La Liga.
Rafinha had put Luis Enrique’s side ahead against the run of play in the 63rd minute but Godín nodded in Koke’s free kick to level in the 70th and bring back memories of his title-clinching goal for Atlético at the Nou Camp in May 2014.
For much of the game, Barça looked to be suffering a lack of confidence from their 4-0 thrashing at Paris St Germain in the Champions League. They made a timid start and had goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to thank for impressive saves in either half.
Just as he had done the week before at Leganés, however, Messi grabbed all the points for his side, producing an instinctive near-post finish in the 87th minute following a free kick.
Barça lead the standings on 54 points, two ahead of Real Madrid and Sevilla although Zinedine Zidane’s side can recover top spot with a game in hand if they beat Villarreal later on Sunday.