Barcelona 2 Atletico Madrid 0: Suarez and Messi strike late to all but secure the title

Diego Costa received a straight red card for dissent as Barcelona secured a late 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou.

The win against Atleti makes gives Lionel Messi the record for the most wins in La Liga history.   -  Getty Images

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored late goals again to move Barcelona to within touching distance of the title, as it beat 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Camp Nou to open an 11-point lead at La Liga's summit.

Although Atletico – which had Diego Costa sent off in the first half – looked set to hang on to a draw, Barca's dominance ultimately paid off as Suarez and then Messi struck late in the day as it did against Villarreal on Wednesday to land what is surely a fatal blow in the race for title.

Barca edged a tense first half, which saw Costa given a straight red card in the 28th minute for berating referee Jesus Gil Manzano, though it was unable to turn its superiority into a lead.

Atletico weathered the storm for most of the second period as well, with Jan Oblak producing an inspired performance, but he was finally beaten twice in the last five minutes as Messi claimed a record-breaking 335th La Liga victory.

After a cagey opening, a moment of Messi inspiration opened the Atletico defence for the first time in the 14th minute, but the post came to Oblak's rescue after Jordi Alba collected the lofted pass.

Atletico's task became even trickier less than a minute later when Costa was given his marching orders for dissent, seemingly fuming at not getting a free-kick after a tussle with Messi.

Barca was dominant in the second half, with Messi testing Oblak from distance in the 56th minute, before the goalkeeper made an even better stop to thwart Suarez when one-on-one.

Oblak was finally beaten five minutes from time, however, as Suarez's gorgeous curling effort from just outside the penalty area found the bottom-right corner.

And Barca's second followed soon after – Messi riding a challenge from Jose Gimenez in the box and tucking a disguised effort inside the right-hand post to spark noisy celebrations at Camp Nou.

What does it mean? Curtains for Atletico

While a draw probably would not have done it much good either, a defeat surely ends Atletico's dwindling hopes of challenging Barca in the title race.

Barca will be deserved victor when it is eventually – as now looks increasingly likely – crowned champion. Atletico has consistently been a dull team to watch this season, while Ernesto Valverde's men have been anything but.

Oblak unlucky in defeat

In the end he could not keep Barca out, yet Oblak was still the best player on the pitch. The goalkeeper made a host of fine saves, keeping Atletico in the contest until the 85th minute. A lesser player between the posts would have already conceded several by that point.

Costa loses his cool

Until Costa's sending off, proceedings were even. But in a moment of frustration he said a little too much to the referee. From then on Atletico's chances were minimal, as Barca dominated.

Key Opta Facts:

- Lionel Messi has become the player with the most wins in La Liga history (335), surpassing former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas (334).

- The Argentina star has scored more goals against Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak than any other player in La Liga (six).

- Excluding Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez is the only player to score 20-plus goals in four different La Liga seasons in the 21st century.

- Oblak made eight saves against Barcelona, his highest total in a game this season in all competitions.

- Barcelona is one of only three teams that Diego Simeone has never defeated as Atletico coach in La Liga (15 games), after Mallorca (three) and Racing Santander (one).

What's next?

Three days after Wednesday's Champions League trip to Manchester United, Barca returns to La Liga action at struggling Huesca. Atletico hosts Celta Vigo the same day.

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