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Barcelona, Atletico split points

AFP
Published : Sep 23, 2016, 1:46 am IST
Updated : Sep 23, 2016, 1:46 am IST

Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa (second from right) celebrates with team mates after scoring against Barcelona in their La Liga match at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Wednesday. The match ended 1-1. (Photo: AFP)

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Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa (second from right) celebrates with team mates after scoring against Barcelona in their La Liga match at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Wednesday. The match ended 1-1. (Photo: AFP)

Lionel Messi will miss the next three weeks after suffering the recurrence of a groin injury as Atletico Madrid came from behind to hold Barcelona 1-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Ivan Rakitic headed Barca into the lead just before half-time, but Angel Correa slotted home on the hour mark just seconds after Messi limped off to hand Atletico a deserved point.

Earlier, Real Madrid’s record-equalling 16-game La Liga win streak came to an end as Villarreal drew 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid continue to lead Barca by three points at the top of the table with Atletico a further point back in fourth.

Sevilla, who beat Real Betis on Tuesday, remain in second place.

“To lose Lionel Messi means football loses and we lose,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique.

“Now we have to look for other solutions. With Leo we are much stronger, but without him we are still a strong team.”

Messi is set to miss Barca’s next three games at Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo in La Liga and Borussia Moenchenglad-bach in the Champions League, as well as Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Paraguay.

The five-time World Player of the Year missed Argentina’s last qualifier in Venezuela earlier this month due to a similar injury.

Barca’s stellar front three of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar had struck 10 times in their last two games, but were kept largely quiet by Atletico’s typically rock-solid defence.

At the Bernabeu, the European champions were looking to surpass the Liga mark of 16 wins first set by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2010/11, but were made to pay for a sluggish first-half display.

“We lacked intensity in the first-half,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

“The second-half was great from everyone, but you can’t always win the three points at the end.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale returned to the Madrid side that won 2-0 at Espanyol on Sunday.

However, Villarreal were the better side in the first-half and got their reward just before half-time when Sergio Ramos handled Manu Trigueros’s shot and referee Jose Luis Gonzalez pointed to the spot.

Location: Spain, Katalonia, Barcelona