Spanish LaLiga match report FC Barcelona v Atletico Madrid 04 March 2018

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The visitors finally got Antoine Griezmann into the game in the 64th minute after being sent through the middle but his first-time strike was off the mark.

The rumours have refused to go away, however, and a man who recently passed 100 goals for Atletico is now being heavily linked with a summer switch to Camp Nou. He's scored more against them than any other side, excluding Sevilla, and his first-half free kick was his 28th goal against them 36 games.

A month ago, Barcelona was 11 points clear at the top and appeared to have a clear path to the title.

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"We're going to have to look after him very closely".

Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann had been largely peripheral figures for the first 73 minutes and when the pair finally did combine, the France worldwide blazed high and wide from outside the box.

But now the snarling, aggressive and brutally effective presence of Costa - every central defender's worst nightmare - is finally giving Griezmann some support, providing a focal point of the attack which the Frenchman can play around and feed off, rather than having to do it all by himself.

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While Simeone has found his first-choice lineup, Valverde will need to choose whether to opt for Philippe Coutinho's playmaking, Paulinho's knack for scoring or Ousmane Dembele's speed.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone said the league was Barcelona's to win.

The build-up to this contest, labelled "the Grand Final" by sections of the Spanish press, was driven by talk of a Barcelona dip following three draws in five league games, with the in-form Atletico primed to move within two points of their rivals. Costa, however, had strayed offside and Barca held on for what will surely prove a crucial three points.

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Barca had the "MSN" (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) and Real Madrid still have the "BBC" (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo), but there's been a new acronym-powered frontline in La Liga since January: "AG-DC". "But we have made it possible". But despite finally getting close to Barca's goal, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was rarely called into action.