BARCELONA, April 6 (Reuters) - Barcelona closed in on the La Liga title after beating 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0 in Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown at the Nou Camp as late strikes by Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi gave the Catalans an 11-point lead at the top of the table.
Atletico began brightly but their gameplan went out of the window when Diego Costa was shown a straight red card in the 28th minute for a verbal tirade at referee Jesus Gil Manzano.
Atletico produced a gutsy second-half display, expertly shackling Barca, but the Catalans finally found a way past the visitors’ outstanding goalkeeper Jan Oblak with a superb curling shot from Suarez in the 85th minute.
Moments later Messi sealed victory and quite probably the league title with an irresistibly cool finish into the net and Barca’s fans jubilantly chanted “champions”, crowing at their surely unassailable lead at the top with seven games remaining. (Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)