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Joao Felix made a decisive return to haunt his former club, Atletico Madrid, by scoring the lone goal in Barcelona’s triumph at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on Sunday. The on-loan Atleti star found the net in the 28th minute, securing a crucial victory for Barcelona.

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This result propels Barcelona three points ahead of Atletico Madrid in the La Liga standings, with only a four-point gap separating them from Girona and arch-rivals Real Madrid at the league’s summit.

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The match unfolded with Barcelona asserting control early on, translating their possession into opportunities, a facet they have occasionally lacked this season. In the opening 15 minutes, Robert Lewandowski had the best chance, but his acrobatic attempt from Raphinha’s low cross missed the target widely.

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Barcelona’s positive start bore fruit in the 28th minute when Joao Felix, ironically on loan from Atletico Madrid, received a pass from Raphinha, infiltrated the penalty area, and delicately chipped the ball over Jan Oblak for the 1-0 lead.

Despite continued dominance from Barcelona in the first half, they couldn’t extend their lead before the break, with Felix’s flicked effort saved brilliantly by Oblak. Despite halftime changes from Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Barcelona, under Xavi Hernandez’s management, maintained control.

In the 58th minute, Barcelona nearly doubled their lead as Raphinha’s attempt struck the post after a skillful buildup with Pedri. Atletico Madrid, following more changes, gradually regained momentum, with Antoine Griezmann coming close during a positive spell.

One of the substitutes, Memphis Depay, nearly leveled the scores late in the game with a powerful free kick, expertly saved by Barcelona’s Inaki Pena. In the 85th minute, Lewandowski missed a golden opportunity, curling wide after evading Azpilicueta.

Barcelona’s goalkeeper Pena once again played a pivotal role in securing the three points by denying substitute Angel Correa’s powerful effort in the 92nd minute.

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