Playing without Robert Lewandowski wasn’t so bad for Barcelona after all.
Barcelona overcame the absence of their top striker to win 1-0 at Atletico Madrid and open a three-point lead over rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Madrid had lost 2-1 at Villarreal on Saturday for their second league loss of the season.Atletico dropped to fifth place, seeing their gap to the lead reach 14 points.
Ousmane Dembele scored in the first half and Barcelona held on for their first league win of the year.Dembele scored with a low shot from close range after a set-up by Gavi in the 22nd minute.
“We knew it was going to be tough to win here, but after Madrid lost points against Villarreal we had to take advantage of the opportunity,” Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets said.“We have to keep adding points at the top.”
Barcelona were without Lewandowski, the league’s leading scorer with 13 goals, because the Poland striker began serving a three-game suspension from before the World Cup break.He had faced Espanyol late last year after the suspension was temporarily lifted, but it got reinstated this week to keep him from playing.
Barcelona coach Xavi started with Ansu Fati in Lewandowski’s position.Fati had come off the bench to score the winning goal in extra-time and help Barcelona escape elimination against third-division club Intercity in the Copa del Rey midweek.
Roma snatch draw
A goal in stoppage time by English striker Tammy Abraham helped AS Roma snatch a 2-2 draw at AC Milan on Sunday, as Stefano Pioli’s men’s hopes of catching up to Serie A leaders Napoli suffered a blow.
It was a soggy night at the San Siro, creating slippery conditions that affected the play.Milan had the first real chance of the game after 29 minutes when Brahim Diaz got the ball just outside the box, but his shot was tipped away by keeper Rui Patricio.
Diaz’s teammate Pierre Kalulu then gave his side the lead when he headed in from a corner on the half-hour mark.