At the final whistle there was nothing to separate Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who will remain level on points atop La Liga for at least another week.
Lionel Messi was useful but not spectacular after replacing the injured Andres Iniesta at the break, and even the introduction of Neymar was not enough to create a meaningful opening against a capable Atletico squad.
But Messi and Pedro likely had the guests’ best chances to score, although goalkeeper Victor Valdes had to be sharp to deny both Diego Costa and Arda Turan from in close.
|Player||First Half||Second Half|
First Half analysis
Valdes: Had only a single save to make and swatted a bit at set-pieces.
Alves: Having some difficulty opposite the physical Turan.
Pique: Has so far dealt well with Diego Costa.
Mascherano: Not giving away much, and distributing the ball exceptionally well.
Alba: Koke has caused him the odd problem, but in general his attacking play has been good.
Xavi: Completed 94 per cent of his passes, although none of them created a meaningful chance.
Busquets: Became more involved as the period progressed and also contributed four tackles.
Iniesta: Received some treatment during the first half but was Barcelona’s best outfielder over the balance of the opening period.
Alexis: Touched the ball a paltry 14 times.
Cesc: Hardly offering what either Messi or Neymar could provide from the bench.
Pedro: Grew into the game and began to prove a handful for Juanfran.
Second Half analysis
Valdes: Made a pair of spectacular, game-saving stops on Turan and Diego Costa.
Alves: Was much better after the break and played in a late cross that Messi should have done better with.
Pique: Shepherded more than a few Atletico chances to safety.
Mascherano: Was perhaps lucky to still be on the pitch following a 72nd minute foul on Diego Costa.
Alba: Struggled whenever Arda Turan shifted over to his flank.
Xavi: Tried to take control of the match midway through the second half, but even his typically-accurate passing was a substandard 89% on this night.
Busquets: Occasionally heroic in the centre of the park and also completed 95% of his passes.
Iniesta: Substituted at the interval with a knee injury.
Alexis: In the end only 24 touches for the Chilean before being withdrawn in favour of Neymar.
Cesc: Had a promising, side-footed volley blocked bravely by Diego Godin.
Pedro: Impressed with his play on the defensive side of the ball.
Messi: Very average for him, with only 28 touches and 80% of his passes completed.
Neymar: Couldn’t gain an advantage on Juanfran.
Sergi Roberto: Eight minutes wasn’t enough time for him to leave a mark.