Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid
from the Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico are currently sixth in La Liga, three points behind third-placed Barca ahead of tonight's clash. Stay tuned for live updates from what should be a cracking game from Spain's top flight!
ATLETICO MADRID (4-3-3): Oblak; Trippier, Hermoso, Felipe, Saul; Correa, Herrera, Thomas, Koke; Morata, Felix
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Junior; De Jong, Arthur, Rakitic; Griezmann, L Suarez, Messi
Saul Niguez starts at left-back for Atletico tonight with Renan Lodi dropping to the bench, while Mario Hermoso and Felipe continue in central defence as Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic are still out. Joao Felix gets his first start since recovering from an ankle injury, while an attacking side also includes Angel Correa with Vitolo dropping to the bench.
As for Barca, Ousmane Dembele's injury sees Antoine Griezmann return to the side, with the France international featuring against the club that he left over the summer. Ivan Rakitic keeps his spot in midfield with Sergio Busquets suspended, while Junior Firpo continues at left-back with Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo both on the sidelines through injury.
A win for the home side would see them rise above both Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad into fourth, while a victory for the reigning champions would be enough to return to the top of the table ahead of Real Madrid. Kickoff in Madrid is next!
KICKOFF: Atletico kick things off on home soil...
... it has been a rotten day in Madrid in terms of the weather and the rain continues to fall. The setting is magnificent, though, with this stadium quite spectacular. Here's to a cracker!
As expected, Barca have been in control of the possession in the early moments. Atletico are in a 4-4-2 tonight with Saul at left-back, and Felix very much alongside Morata in attack. Barca are in their usual 4-3-3 with Griezmann to the left and Messi to the right.
Not since February 2010 have Atletico beaten Barca in La Liga, with the Catalan giants dominating the recent meetings between the two sides. Not too much to report inside the first six minutes here, although Griezmann is being loudly booed by the home supporters.
The last two clashes between these sides in Madrid have finished all square, with Barca's last away victory in this fixture coming in February 2017. In truth, both teams would probably take a point tonight, although Barca are regarded as the favourites.
OFF THE POST! Oh my word! Huge let-off for Barca as a low cross from Hermoso is deflected onto his own post by Firpo! Atletico come so close to taking the lead here!
YELLOW CARD! Thomas (Atletico) is booked for a poor challenge on Rakitic.
Good spell for Atletico at the moment as they take the ball away from Barca on a couple of occasions before launching dangerous attacks. The atmosphere is absolutely electric here.
In all competitions, Atletico have won just one of their last six matches, which came at home to Espanyol in La Liga on November 10. The capital giants have started well here, though, and came incredibly close to taking the lead off that deflected Hermoso cross.
Trippier has managed to contain Griezmann in the early exchanges with the former Tottenham Hotspur defender using his pace to usher the ball behind in the last phase of play.
CLOSE! Big chance for the home side as Trippier delivers a wonderful free kick onto the head of Felipe, but the centre-back heads over the crossbar from close range.
Not an awful lot happening for Barca at the moment as Atletico continue to force the issue; Correa hits one from distance, but Lenglet is on hand to make a smart block.
Atletico have a free kick in a dangerous area as Firpo fouls Correa...
... Koke delivers a free kick towards the far post, but Roberto does well to clear.
SAVE! Oh my word! Stunning! Incredible chance for Atletico to take the lead as Hermoso fires a volley towards goal from inside the box, but Ter Stegen makes a huge save. The defender was all alone at the far post but could not find a route past the German.
YELLOW CARD! Correa (Atletico) is booked for a foul on De Jong.
Still goalless with 23 minutes on the clock, but Atletico really should be ahead. Barca have not offered too much in the final third thus far but that could soon change.
CLOSE! Another big moment for Atletico as Herrera works some space just inside the Barca box before curling just wide of the far post. The visitors should be behind here!
SAVE! Comfortable for Oblak to keep out a low strike from Rakitic after good work from Messi, first sign of a threat from the visitors, who have been poor thus far here.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and it has been a very open game. Atletico certainly feel that they can harm Barca, who have wobbled at the back.
Goals have been a real problem for Atletico, finding the back of the net in just 16 of their 14 league matches, but Simeone's side should have had at least two so far tonight.
Better from Barca in the last couple of minutes as they continue to move the ball in the final third of the field, but Atletico are closing the spaces available to Messi and Co.
YELLOW CARD! Pique (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Correa.
Atletico win their first corner of the match after smart work from Correa once again, but the champions manage to clear their lines. Still goalless with 34 minutes on the clock here.
The referee wants a word with Luis Suarez following a clash with Hermoso but play continues without anything major happening. Barca are on the front foot for the moment.
You do get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - will be huge here. Barca are much more in the game at the moment as they start to pass and probe in the capital.
CLOSE! Suarez just misses the Atletico post with a rasping strike from distance!
Little over five minutes of the first period remaining, and we are still goalless in the capital. Barca are very much in the game now, though, with Messi more and more involved. Atletico might well be made to rue some huge missed opportunities here.
SAVE! Another huge save from the Barca goalkeeper as he keeps out a powerful header from Morata. It is quite sensational work from Ter Stegen once again here!
Barca have already lost three times on their travels this season, and the Spanish champions have looked wobbly in the first 43 minutes of this contest.
OFF THE BAR! Woodwork for Barca this time as Pique crashes a header towards goal!
Big pressure from the away side in the closing stages of a first half which has absolutely flown past. Excellent entertainment in the Spanish capital, there is no doubt about that.
HALF TIME: ATLETICO 0-0 BARCELONA
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Atletico have had some excellent chances to make the breakthrough, but Barca grew into the contest and will also feel that they should have scored in the first period.
STATISTICS! Barca commanded 65% of the possession in the first period, but the champions hit the target with just one of their six attempts. Atletico, meanwhile, had 12 attempts in the first 45 minutes, two of which were on target. There have also already been four bookings - Thomas and Correa for Atletico, and Junior and Pique for Barca.
STATISTICS! Barca's bench is not exactly full of attacking talent, although both Fati and Perez are available for Valverde, in addition to the likes of Vidal. Atletico, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Lemar and Vitolo. Will either manager act at the interval?
KICKOFF: Barca resume the action in the capital...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not a surprise. However, you do get the feeling that both managers will have alterations in mind as play develops here.
The last meeting between these two teams ended in a 2-0 Barca win at Camp Nou in April, but the pair played out a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano last term. Will there be a repeat of that scoreline tonight? Let's hope for a second period as open as the first.
Good football from Atletico as they work the ball from left to right before Koke delivers towards Morata, but Pique is across to make the clearance. Still goalless in Madrid.
YELLOW CARD! Rakitic (Barcelona) is booked for a kick on Morata.
Atletico are on the front foot at the moment as they continue to pass and probe. Another corner comes into the Barca box from Pique but this time Ter Stegen makes the claim.
Little over 35 minutes of the second period remaining and we are still waiting for the first goal. Barca are really, really deep at the moment which is surprising to observe.
Roberto meets a deep pass from Firpo and heads towards Luis Suarez, but Hermoso is on hand to make the clearance. Both defences are currently on top in the capital.
Koke has a shot deflected behind for a corner which Trippier takes, but Barca once again deal with the danger. Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining here.
Bit of possession for Barca in the last couple of minutes, although the champions are not doing much with it. Messi has been quiet tonight it must be said, while Griezmann has not offered too much on his return to Atletico, which will please the home side's fans.
SAVE! Smart stop from Oblak to keep out a low strike from Messi.
We are just starting to enter the period where both managers will be thinking about changes. It would not be a surprise to see the exceptional Fati off the Barca bench here.
SAVE! Comfortable save for Oblak this time to keep out a strike from Suarez.
YELLOW CARD! Lenglet (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Morata.
ATLETICO SUB! Vitolo replaces Felix for the home side.
It seems incredible to think that Barca have not lost to Atletico in La Liga since 2010, and the home side really should be ahead tonight when considering the chances they have created.
No movement on the Barca bench, but Atletico have introduced a fresh face. Vitolo has been deployed as a forward in recent weeks and he has gone up alongside Morata.
CLOSE! Griezmann fires a volley over the crossbar at the far post after Messi had broken clear and driven past a number of challenges. Brilliant from Messi there.
YELLOW CARD! Vitolo (Atletico) is booked for trying to chop Messi to the ground.
All kicking off here as Pique has fouled Morata on a yellow card!
Atletico want a second yellow but the referee says no!
CHANCE! Somehow Barca manage to clear their lines after a low cross into the box causes all sorts of problems. There were bodies everywhere but Roberto sweeps clear!
YELLOW CARD! Felipe (Atletico) is booked for a poor tackle on Arthur.
ATLETICO SUB! Lemar replaces Correa for the home side.
BARCELONA SUB! Arthur is replaced by Vidal for the visitors here.
Little over 15 minutes of the second half remaining, and it must be said that this match has absolutely flown past. It might be goalless but this has been a brilliant game to watch.
SHOT! Morata fires over the Barca post from a narrow angle here.
Carles Alena has been sent to warm up for the visitors, and it would be some story if the Spaniard was introduced having been out of favour for such a long period. Little over 10 minutes of the second period remaining in the capital - is there going to be a winner?
Pique remains on the ground following a challenge with Vitolo. Does not look great.
Pique might not be able to continue here. Vitolo is fortunate to get away with that having already been booked. Samuel Umtiti is going to be needed late on here.
Pique back on, for the moment.
Little over five minutes of the second period remaining, and we are still looking for the first goal of this match. It has promised much in terms of goals, but we are heading for the final exchanges at 0-0. Is there going to be a late sting in the tail here?
BARCELONA SUB! Umtiti replaces Pique for the away side.
GOAL! ATLETICO 0-1 BARCELONA (MESSI)
GOAL! Oh my goodness, Messi. Barca take the lead in the 86th minute as Messi dances past a host of challenges before playing a one-two with Suarez and feeding the ball past Oblak!
Atletico missed so many chances in the first period and have been made to pay here.
ATLETICO SUB! Herrera is replaced by Lodi for the home side.
Atletico are doing their best to force the issue in the latter stages but their latest attack comes to an end when Koke loses control. How much stoppage time will be added?
We are into the first of three additional minutes in the capital.
Time is running out for Atletico as the clock continues to tick on. What a huge win this could be for Barca, who are heading back to the top of the table as it stands here.
SAVE! Ter Stegen is on hand to keep out a strike from Lodi!
Atletico have a free kick and Oblak is forward...
... Griezmann climbs highest to make the headed clearance.
FULL TIME: ATLETICO 0-1 BARCELONA
It is so, so tough on Atletico as Messi's goal wins it late on. The home side are made to rue missed opportunities as Barca return to the top of the table, leaving Atletico down in sixth spot. What a brilliant game of football, and it was some finish to the action.
That is just about it from me tonight, but I shall leave you with the match report
from the clash in the capital. Thanks for joining our live coverage once again, see you next time!