Dembele saves Barcelona with late equaliser
A late strike from Ousmane Dembele helped Barcelona earn a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Saturday night at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
Diego Costa thumped in a header in the 77th minute that had Atletico temporarily sitting atop the LaLiga table, but some playmaking from Lionel Messi helped set up Dembele's 89th minute equaliser for a sharing of the points.
It was a typical Atletico-Barcelona match, with chances few and far between but still ferociously competitive and with plenty of late drama.
There were a couple noteworthy inclusions in manager Ernesto Valverde's starting XI, with centre-back Samuel Umtiti returning from injury, while Arturo Vidal received a rare start in midfield.
Neither goalkeeper was troubled in what was a cagey first half. Barcelona played their usual possession game, while Atletico looked to break on the counter. The result was a cat-and-mouse game that saw no scoring chances created in the first 45 minutes.
The only time anyone came close to scoring was a flubbed clearance from Gerard Pique that required a save from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Of note though was the hamstring injury sustained by Sergi Roberto, which produced the first change for Barcelona, with Rafinha replacing him in midfield.
It wasn't until right before the hour mark that Atletico had their first good look at goal when a rampaging Antoine Griezmann run ended with a cutback pass that just missed connecting with Diego Costa.
The Colchoneros enjoyed their best spell in the final quarter-hour and Costa would strike the jackpot by beating Rafinha on a corner kick and heading in past Ter Stegen to give Atletico a late 1-0 lead.
In hopes of getting an equaliser, Valverde turned to his bench, bringing on Ousmane Dembele and Malcom for Artur and Vidal, respectively.
The Frenchman would oblige in the final minutes thanks to some help from Messi, who toe-poked a pass to Dembele that split a pair of Atletico defenders. From there, Dembele took a touch and fired in a shot that deflected off of Lucas Hernandez and into net for the 1-1 final.
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