Barcelona dominates Atletico to move to second

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MADRID, March 18: (AP): Atletico Madrid fans burned a João Félix jersey before their team’s match against Barcelona. They also vandalized a plaque with his name and insulted the player outside the Metropolitano Stadium.

But when the match started, the Portugal forward answered those fans on the field.
Félix struck against his former club again on Sunday, scoring the opening goal in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Spanish league.
Robert Lewandowski and Fermín López also scored for Barcelona, which moved to second place with its fifth straight league victory over Atletico.

Félix had scored the winner in the Catalan club’s 1-0 win in the league in December. The Portugal international is playing on loan from Atletico after falling out with the club last season.
Félix was loudly jeered by the Atletico fans at the Metropolitano Stadium when he was replaced in the 77th. The forward arrived at Atletico for 120 million euros (now $130 million) in 2019 but never fully met the high expectations that came with his signing.

Félix opened the scoring from the middle of the area after a pass by Lewandowski in the 38th minute, becoming the first Barcelona player to score in both matches against Atletico in a single league season since Lionel Messi in 2019-20.
Lewandowski added to the lead in a breakaway after Atletico midfielder Rodrigo De Paul gave away possession with a bad pass early in the second half, and the Poland striker set up López’s header for Barcelona’s third goal in the 65th.

Atletico defender Nahuel Molina was sent off in stoppage time for a foul on Vitor Roque to stop a breakaway. Xavi was sent off before halftime for protesting.
It was Atletico’s first league loss at the Metropolitano Stadium since January 2023 – also 1-0 against Barcelona. It was also Atletico’s worst loss at home in any competition.

The win added to Barcelona’s momentum after it eliminated Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday to make it to the tournament’s quarterfinals for the first time in four years.
Unbeaten in eight league matches, Barcelona moved two points ahead of third-place Girona, which lost 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday. Barcelona is eight points behind leader Real Madrid, which won 4-2 at Osasuna on Saturday.

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