Barcelona coach Valverde explains recalling Dembele for Atletico Madrid clash

Ernesto Valverde

Ernesto Valverde

The second half began much like the first half with both sides enjoying plenty of possession in the middle of the park but they struggled to breakdown each other's defences.

Coach Quique Setién's men doubled their lead through Joaquín in the 37th minute with Cristian Tello setting up the goal the away team.

Diego Costa headed home the opener from an Antoine Griezmann corner kick to hand the home side the lead just before the 80-minute mark, but Dembele netted on 90 minute to save Barcelona from their second straight defeat in days.

The home side had their moments on the break, but after 35 minutes made a positive impact in the game.

It looked as though Atletico were on their way to a famous victory over their bitter rivals, unfortunately they were pegged back in the final minutes of the game.

Atletico are unbeaten in their last nine games despite dealing with several injuries.

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Atleti and Barca on the same field always means excitement. Some space seemed to open up for Barca talisman Lionel Messi, when he caught Atletico midfield Rodrigo dawdling, but Koke was sitting deeper and able to cover. Subs - Correa 5, Vitolo 5.

But we seemed set for a 0-0 until Costa rose out of nowhere at the back post with just 13 minutes remaining - powering home a header in what was the first effort on target by either team. The striker got on the end of a corner kick delivery from Griezmann to the back post and he squeezes the header through ter Stegen! Since then, the team has won four of five games, conceding three goals in the process.

It was far from Barcelona's best performance of the season, however they'll certainly be the happier of the two sides. Here, the teams each get a goal and share the points.

89- Dembele saves Barca with a goal at the death! . Ernesto Valverde will likely move Arturo Vidal into the starting XI in place of Rakitic.

Substitutes: Rafinha (6), Dembele (8), Malcolm (6). It was fair that we got the draw. However, the club will be without Ivan Rakitic, who will serve his one-game suspension after he was sent off against Betis with two yellow cards.

WORST PLAYER - Luis Suarez had a very frustrating night. A wind-up merchant in his element, Atleti played to the strengths of their central striker, relying on set pieces and quick counter attacks, even if their counters largely amounted to nothing. It promises to be a cracker in Madrid as third-placed Atletico take on league leaders Barca, in what seems to be a shootout of the La Liga title.

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