Barcelona v Atletico: Is there a more entertaining fixture?
You are guaranteed goals when Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid each season, and Saturday’s encounter at the Nou Camp was no exception as the European champions romped to a 5-2 victory.
Barca were 4-0 up within 41 minutes after goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi, Daniel Alves and Seydou Keita, before Atletico pulled one back through Sergio Aguero.
Diego Forlan made it 4-2 late on but any thoughts of a late rally disappeared when an inspired Messi grabbed his second at the end.
Whereas most managers think Rorke’s Drift or the Alamo when they go the Nou Camp, Atletico coach Abel Resino went to trade blows with Barca, lining up five attacking players ahead of one holding midfielder.
Their goal was guarded by reserve keeper Roberto, who was making only his second first-team appearance – the first having been four years ago.
Xavi has described Pep Guardiola as a football romantic for his attacking ideals, and perhaps Resino falls into the same category. But his ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ perhaps owed more to history than good sense.
He could have looked back to their previous meeting at the Calderon last February. When his side fell two goals behind he threw caution to the wind, and the team came back to win 4-3 with a last minute goal from Aguero.
Recent meetings have been littered with goals.
In January, Barca knocked Atletico out of the King’s Cup 5-2 on aggregate, and at the Nou Camp for the first meeting of last season Barcelona trounced Javier Aguirre’s team 6-1.
Two years ago, it was a similar story. Ronaldinho scored his last ever goal for Barcelona with a spectacular overhead kick at the Calderon only for Atletico to storm back and win 4-2. At the Nou Camp, Barca ran out 3-0 winners.
Three years ago, Barcelona smashed six past Atletico without reply in the Calderon after having drawn 1-1 earlier in the season.
Four years ago, Fernando Torres scored three as Atletico did the double over the eventual league and European champions with 2-1 and 3-1 victories.
Anyone got tickets for Barcelona’s visit to the Calderon in February?
PHOTO: Barcelona’s Leo Messi (L) is tackled by Atletico Madrid’s Pablo Ibanez during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona September 19, 2009. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino