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Messi Goal Extends Atletico Winless Run Against Barcelona (Video)

Αssociated Press

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID — Lionel Messi scored in the 86th minute as Barcelona won 1-0 Sunday to extend its unbeaten run against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish league to 19 matches.

Messi struck with a low left-footed shot from outside the area after being set up by Luis Suarez to keep Barcelona unbeaten against Atletico in nine years.

The victory put Barcelona back at the top of the league above Real Madrid — which won at Alaves on Saturday — on goal difference.

Atletico dropped to sixth place, six points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid which have a game in hand after their October clasico was postponed until Dec. 18 because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital.

Sevilla stayed third after beating last-place Leganes 1-0 earlier Sunday, while Real Sociedad is in fourth place after routing Eibar 4-1 on Saturday.

Atletico had most of the chances at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, but both teams squandered good opportunities throughout the match.

Each side hit the woodwork in the first half, and both goalkeepers — Atletico’s Jan Oblak and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen — made some good saves to keep the game scoreless.

Messi broke the deadlock after an exchange with Suarez, whose perfect touch just outside the box set up the playmaker’s well-placed low shot.

Atletico’s last league win over Barcelona was in February 2010, a 2-1 victory at the now demolished Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Barcelona has won 14 matches since then, with five draws. Atletico’s last win against the Catalan rival in all competitions was a 2-1 result in the quarterfinals of the 2015-16 Champions League. Atletico’s worst streak against a single club is a 23-match winless run against Real Madrid from 2000 to 2013.

Gerard Pique, whose close-range header struck the crossbar near the end of the first half, had to be substituted in the final minutes after a knock to his right leg.

By: Tales Azzoni, AP Sports Writer