Messi goes off injured as Barca held by Atletico

Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:25pm EDT
 
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By Richard Martin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona failed to capitalize on Real Madrid dropping points against Villarreal as the La Liga champions were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, while talisman Lionel Messi limped off with a groin injury.

Ivan Rakitic nodded Barca ahead in the 41st minute but the home side lost control after the break following an injury to midfield lynchpin Sergio Busquets and Angel Correa fired in the equalizer in the 61st, shortly after Messi had come off.

"Leo Messi has torn the groin muscle in his right leg. He will be out of action for approximately three weeks," Barcelona officials said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, Real's 100 percent start to the season came to an end as they drew 1-1 at home to Villarreal, which also halted their joint record run of 16 successive league wins.

Real remain top of La Liga on 13 points. Sevilla are second on 11 points, Barcelona third on nine points while Atletico are fourth, on eight points.

Barca had plenty of possession in the first half but Atletico, who knocked them out of the Champions League last season, forced them into tight spaces and constricted their ability to create openings.

"We knew it wasn't going to be an easy game and we'd be attacking a team that sat back and worked hard. They gave us no space and made everything more complicated," Luis Enrique told a news conference.

Messi was denied by Jan Oblak in one of few chances in a tight first half but Rakitic broke free of Atletico's clutches to put Barca in front.   Continued...

 
Football Soccer - Spanish Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Villarreal - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid Spain, 21/09/16 Villarreal's goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo reacts at the end of the match. REUTERS/Sergio Perez