Barcelona reopened a three-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 1-0 win away to Atletico Madrid. Ousmane Dembele's goal midway through the first half after good work by Pedri and Gavi was enough to give Barca the win. Tempers frayed in the closing moments and both Barca's Ferran Torres and Atletico defender Stefan Savic were sent off for fighting moments before Ronald Araujo cleared off the line to deny Antoine Griezmann.
Madrid had lost 2-1 at Villarreal on Saturday for its second league loss of the season. Atlético dropped to fifth place, seeing its gap to the lead reach 14 points. Dembele scored in the first half and Barcelona held on for its first league win of the year. Dembélé scored with a low shot from close range after a set up by Gavi Páez in the 22nd minute. "We knew it was going to be tough to win here, but after Madrid lost points against Villarreal we had to take advantage of the opportunity," Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets said.
Lewandowski misses game
"We have to keep adding points at the top." Barcelona was without Lewandowski, the league's leading scorer with 13 goals, because the Poland striker began serving a three-game suspension from before the World Cup break. He had faced Espanyol late last year after the suspension was temporarily lifted, but it got reinstated this week to keep him from playing.
Ansu Fati back in action
Barcelona coach Xavi started with Ansu Fati in Lewandowski's position. Fati had come off the bench to score the winning goal in extra time and help Barcelona escape elimination against third-division club Intercity in the Copa del Rey midweek. Forward Antoine Griezmann had a couple of good opportunities to equalize for Atlético but couldn't capitalise on them at the Metropolitano stadium in the Spanish capital. "We played well for most of the match," Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak said. "We created chances but we were a bit unlucky. We could have scored a few times, but the ball just didn't go in."
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