Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid score: Lionel Messi scores brilliant winner as Barca returns to top of table

The Argentine superstar sealed it in the second half

Barcelona is back atop the table in La Liga and superstar Lionel Messi is to thank. On Sunday, Ernesto Valverde's team traveled to the Spanish capital to take on a strong Atletico Madrid side, and while Barca didn't start the match well, it ended with all three points off the magical left foot of its Argentine playmaker to move back into first place. 

Barca needed a couple key stops from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in goal in a game that was physical and occasionally sloppy with rain pouring down at the Wanda Metropolitano. It was Barca attacker Antoine Griezmann's first game against his former club after leaving this past summer on not-so-good terms. 

While Atleti was the sharper side early and came close on a few chances, the match appeared headed for a scoreless draw as precision in attack was missing. Atleti put just two of its 17 shots on frame, while Barca put five of 13 on the goal of Jan Oblak. 

As Atleti pushed for a winner and looked stronger during some spells, Barca slowly improved as the game went on. Then, in the 86th minute, Messi combined with his buddy Luis Suarez for a fantastic give-and-go, with the Uruguayan setting up Messi for a left-footed curler that went low and found the back of the net.

Here's the goal:

How many times have we seen Messi do that? He's deadly from there when all he needs to do is curl it low to the post, and he pulled it off perfectly here. 

Suarez also knew what he was doing the whole time, taking that light little touch with class to give Messi his best chance of the game and earn Barca three critical points. Barcelona jumps Real Madrid and Sevilla to move back into first, while Atleti's attacking woes continued. Los Colchoneros are the worst scoring team in the top half of the table in La Liga and haven't scored in their last 210 minutes of play in all competition. To be fair, 180 of those minutes have been against Barca and Juventus. 

CBS Sports was with you the entire way, providing stats, analysis and more. You can relive Barca-Atleti below.

Atletico 0, Barcelona 1 (FT)

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@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:57 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:56 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:53 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:52 PM

It's a fantastic goal. Lovely combo with Suarez, and Messi puts it away brilliantly!

@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:45 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:44 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:43 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:42 PM

Pique looks really hurt after a challenge. Tried to keep going and went right down to the ground again. Knee potentially. Umtiti is warming up.

@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:35 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:33 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:31 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:30 PM

Griezmann just had his best chance of the game on a half-volley in the box, and it was closer to the corner flag than the goal. He hear the whistles right as he makes contact.

@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:26 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:24 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:22 PM

An hour in, and this game still needs a goal. It's back and forth ad the goalkeepers are looking sharp. Open play means more chances to come.

@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:14 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:09 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:03 PM
@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 9:02 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 8:50 PM

A fun, fast chess match of a game in the first half. Atleti with the better chances, but Ter Stegen has saved Barca. Both teams hit the woodwork, and it's 0-0 at the break.

@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 8:47 PM
@FCBarcelona via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 8:42 PM

40' Ter Stegen again!!!! On a corner kick Morata gets up for a header and the shot-stopper somehow keeps the ball out with his arm. A brilliant save.

@atletienglish via Twitter
December 1, 2019, 8:41 PM
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