Atleti deal 'suffering' Barca another blow

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Atletico Madrid have dished out another humbling defeat to Barcelona with Luis Suarez and Thomas Lemar setting up goals for each other in a 2-0 La Liga win.

France ace Lemar struck the opener from a pass by Suarez in the 23rd minute.

The roles were reversed in the 44th when the Uruguayan scored his first goal against his former club and 172nd league goal - to now have netted against all 31 opponents he has faced in Spain's top flight.

Barcelona's defeat came hours after club president Joan Laporta broke his silence and pledged that coach Ronaldo Koeman would stay on regardless of the result at the defending Spanish league champions.

Laporta's defence of Koeman came after days of reports in the Spanish media that he was ready to replace the Dutchman.

Koeman watched his team's latest demise from a box in the Wanda Metropolitano stands, where he served the second of a two-game ban for protesting the refereeing in a draw at Cadiz.

There was no late push by Barcelona, no Lionel Messi-like revival to turn around a game that looked lost.

And if Atletico didn't add a third goal, it appeared it was because their coach Diego Simeone seemed happier to watch Barcelona flounder than go all out on attack.

"We are suffering, I'm going to be honest with you... ," veteran Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said.

"It isn't one problem, there are several. People can see what we lack. But we'll recover.

"They're difficult times, a lot of us haven't experienced this before. We want to turn it around but it isn't easy."

Simeone led the crowd of more than 60,000 in celebrations during the final minutes of Atletico's first match with attendance at full capacity since the start of the pandemic.

Health authorities lifted the nationwide cap of 60 per cent attendance this week.

Atletico moved to second place, level on points with leaders Real Madrid before Los Merengues tackle Espanyol on Sunday.

Barcelona are ninth place - five points adrift of the the top two.

Manu Sanchez grabbed the only goal of the game in stoppage time as Osasuna beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0.

Real Mallorca got back on track after two successive defeats as Angel scored the only goal of the game against Levante, for whom Jose Luis Morales had an 85th-minute penalty saved by Manolo Reina.

Valencia are now without a win in four league games, held to a goalless draw at Cadiz.

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