Soccer-Barcelona outclass Atletico Madrid in 3-0 win to climb second

Credit: REUTERS/Isabel Infantes

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MADRID, March 17 (Reuters) - Barcelona cruised to an emphatic 3-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday with goals from Joao Felix, Robert Lewandowski and Fermin Lopez, to move second in the LaLiga standings.

The hosts dominated the early exchanges, but Barcelona grabbed the lead in the 38th minute following a fine passing move with Lewandowski teeing up Felix for an easy close-range finish.

Lewandowski extended the advantage two minutes into the second half as Raphinha stole the ball from Atletico's Rodrigo de Paul to set up the Pole for his 13th league goal of the season.

The visitors seemed untroubled by coach Xavi Hernandez being sent off in the first half and Lopez sealed the rout in the 65th minute with a towering header off Lewandowski's second assist of the night.

"It was probably the most complete game. It was a match similar to the one against Napoli," said Xavi referring to their midweek win in the Champions League.

"It's an ideal match for our methodology and philosophy of play. We are Barca, nobody relaxes here. We are going to try to improve and compete for the two most important titles.

"I am passionate and I want my team to win. For me the sending off was unnecessary and unfair but we have to accept it."

Barcelona moved above Girona, who were beaten 1-0 by Getafe on Saturday, in the table with 64 points, eight behind leaders Real Madrid.

"We are believing until the end. Trying to cut points and fight for the league," Lopez said. "Xavi told me to play calmly. I think we are in a good dynamic and we hope to extend it as long as possible".

Atletico, who were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time following Nahuel Molina's red card, suffered their first home loss of the season to leave them fifth with 55 points, one adrift of Athletic Bilbao in the last Champions League qualifying berth.

"They were better. The second goal took us straight out of the game. Congratulations to them because they played a good game," Atletico manager Diego Simeone said.

"Nothing to complain about my players. They gave their all. Let's stay calm and push for fourth place. It will be complicated and difficult."

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City Editing by Toby Davis)

((Janina.Nuno@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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