Late goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi helped Barcelona beat 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0 on Saturday night at the Camp Nou.
With the result, Barcelona’s open their lead atop the LaLiga table to 11 points, and all but ensures another league crown for the Catalonians.
A straight red-card for Diego Costa just shy of the hour mark made Atletico’s uphill task even more difficult, but Diego Simeone’s men did well to hang tough, thanks to the goalkeeping of Jan Oblak.
But the dam would finally break minutes from full-time, the first off the right-foot of Suarez and the second off the gilded boot of Messi.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde rolled out his strongest possible XI, which meant starts for Sergi Roberto at right-back, Arthur in midfield and Philippe Coutinho up top with Messi and Suarez. As for Simeone’s squad, Costa got the nod, meaning Alvaro Morata was relegated to the bench.
The first chance of the contest went to Barcelona thanks to Messi, who flighted a pass into Jordi Alba, only to see the left-back’s shot hit the post and bounce away.
Atletico went toe-to-toe with the Barcelona, but the final touch was lacking and there were no major chances to speak for Simeone’s men in the quarter of the match.
Things took a dramatic turn right before the half-hour mark, as the always hot-headed Costa went a step too far in his protestations to referee Gil Manzano and was promptly sent off, leaving Atletico Madrid short of one man.
Despite the man advantage, it was tough sledding for Barcelona.
Just when it looked like things would end in a goalless draw, the Barcelona onslaught began.
It started with Suarez collecting a ball outside the area and curling in a right-footer past Oblak and off the post and into net for a 1-0 lead.
The home fans didn’t even have time to sit down before the ball was back in the net again.
Messi eluded Jose Maria Gimenez’s challenge and then faked Diego Godin before sliding in a shot near post to make it 2-0, all but sealing another league title for Barcelona.