Saturday night’s game between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid saw Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez reunited for the first time since the Uruguayan’s Camp Nou departure last summer.
However despite two of the best forwards in the world being on the pitch, the game ended goalless to put Real Madrid in the driver’s seat in the race for the La Liga title.
The pair formed one of the most deadly partnerships on the planet following Suarez’s move to Barcelona in 2014, scoring 475 goals between them in the former Liverpool striker’s six seasons in Catalunya
Suarez, who scored 195 goals in 283 games for Barcelona, joined Atletico Madrid in the summer after being unceremoniously dumped by the then-Barca hierarchy - much to Messi's displeasure - and has been integral to Atleti's title challenge.
Going into the encounter, Atletico had their destiny in their own hands as they led the way on 76 points, with Real Madrid second and Barcelona third, both on 74 points.
However, a goalless draw means that whilst Atletico still hold a two-point advantage over Barcelona and a three-point lead on their local rivals, Zinedine Zidane’s men now have the advantage.
Los Blancos boast a game in hand on their two title rivals and while Atleti’s goal difference is five better it is the sides’ head-to-head record which is all important.
And with Real beating Atleti 2-0 in December and the teams drawing 1-1 in March, Real are now the side in control.
They also have the bonus of having beaten Barcelona in both meetings this season.
The top of the La Liga table and the dynamics of the title race could have been totally different had Messi not been denied one of his greatest ever goals by Jan Oblak.
Just before half-time, Messi picked up the ball inside the Atleti half and he glided his way towards goal.
The Argentine ended up engaging seven defenders on his way to the edge of the penalty area, as he cut inside onto his left foot, and his 20-yard shot was heading in before Oblak dived to his left and tipped it wide.
Messi also went close in the dying minutes, when he curled a free-kick just wide of the post.
But it was the visitors who had the better chances and Suarez was a real threat against his former club.
The 34-year-old forced Ter Stegen into action on more than one occasion and the striker was close to scoring a decisive goal following another good stop by the Barcelona goalkeeper following his save from Yannick Carrasco, only for the German to beat Suarez to the follow-up.
Suarez did have the ball in the net inside the final 20 minutes when he blasted the ball home but it was pulled back for a foul by Carrasco in the build-up.
Advantage, Los Blancos.
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