Atletico Madrid delivered a major boost to their hopes of winning La Liga on Saturday by beating Barcelona 1-0 and consigning their opponents to their worst start to a league season in 29 years.
Yannick Carrasco finished brilliantly from range after mistakes from Gerard Pique and Marc-Andre ter Stegen left the goal gaping but Barca, and a below-par Lionel Messi, failed to respond at the Wanda Metropolitano.Instead, Atletico recorded their first league victory over Barcelona in 10 years, which puts them three points ahead of Real Madrid, with a game in hand, and second in the table, level on points with early leaders Real Sociedad.
It also leaves their opponents languishing in 10th, with Barcelona's 11 points from their first eight games their worst tally at this stage since the 1991-92 season.
Real Madrid had earlier been held to a 1-1 draw by in-form Villarreal, another slip-up for the reigning champions to enforce the sense that this could be Atletico's year.
And beating Barcelona in La Liga for the first time since 2010 -- before Simeone arrived as coach -- will do wonders for the team's belief and extends what is now a considerable advantage in the table.
It also extends Atletico's unbeaten run in the league to 24 matches.