Atletico Denied Long-Awaited Win over Barca in La Liga

Atletico Madrid came within a whisker of their first league win over Barcelona in eight years on Saturday only for substitute Ousmane Dembele to dash their hopes with a dramatic equaliser in injury-time.

Diego Costa looked to have won a dreary contest at the Wanda Metropolitano when he headed in his first La Liga goal since February with 12 minutes left, as Atletico prepared to go top of the table with a long-awaited victory.

Instead, Barca produced another fightback as Dembele, on as a substitute, slid home a cool finish in the 90th minute to earn the visitors a 1-1 draw.

In a drab first half, Gerard Pique went closest to scoring when he almost wafted a clearance into his own net.

Lionel Messi rifled a free-kick over the bar and that was that, a half of few chances perhaps more a triumph for Atletico than Barcelona.

Griezmann finally injected some urgency on the hour, robbing the ball off Arthur Melo before leaving Samuel Umtiti for dead, but Costa was just short of finishing the cutback.

Atletico wanted a penalty when the ball struck Arturo Vidal’s arm but the video assistant referee decided it was not deliberate.

They however got the opener in the 77th minute, Griezmann’s corner drifting its way to the back post where Costa headed in.

But Dembele instigated the comeback against Rayo Vallecano last month and did the same again here as Messi’s ball spilled out to the 21-year-old at the back post where he took one touch inside, before firing it into the net.

The relief was palpable in the celebrations of the luminous yellow shirts in the corner but perhaps just as grateful were Real Madrid, beaten 3-0 by Eibar earlier in the day.

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