Joao Felix gives Barcelona needed win over Atletico Madrid


João Félix scores against his former club to put Barca ahead

João Félix chips the keeper to put Barcelona on top of his former club Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona's Joao Felix scored in the first half to secure a hard-fought 1-0 home win against his valiant parent club Atletico Madrid in a compelling LaLiga clash on Sunday.

The Portuguese, on loan at Barca, netted with a fine finish over goalkeeper Jan Oblak from a counter-attack in the 28th minute and the hosts held on against Diego Simeone's side.

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"It hurts. We threw away the first half," Oblak said after the match. "If we'd have played a bit in the first half, we would have had a chance. We were poor and we were punished for that.

"I don't understand why. The idea was to go and play and I don't know what happened to us. Not one of us played well in the first half, not one of us wanted the ball."

Barcelona moved above Atletico into third place on 34 points, four behind leaders Real Madrid and Girona. Atletico are fourth on 31 points with a game in hand.

Joao Felix celebrates with Barcelona teammates after scoring a goal against Atletico Madrid in LaLiga.
Joao Felix celebrates with Barcelona teammates after scoring a goal against Atletico Madrid in LaLiga.
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Félix received a standing ovation when he was substituted by Ferran Torres in the 77th at the Olympic Lluis Companys Stadium.

The Portugal forward got the winner by flicking the ball over Oblak from a tight angle after a pass by Raphinha.

Barcelona goalkeeper Iñaki Peña, replacing the injured Marc-André ter Stegen, made a few good saves -- and one stellar one on a Memphis Depay free kick -- toward the end to secure Barcelona's third win in four league matches.

Barcelona was coming off a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano before beating Porto 2-1 to secure their return to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time after two consecutive group-stage eliminations.

Félix, a former Benfica player, also scored against Porto on Tuesday.

"I couldn't believe [when the fans chanted his name]," Felix said after the match. "I know how great this club is and to have your name chanted is not something that happens to many. I'm delighted."

Simeone's Atletico had won four in a row in all competitions, with two losses -- including at Las Palmas -- and eight wins in their last 10 league matches.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this story.