Barcelona was cruising through the season until suddenly Lionel Messi was injured and Atlético Madrid scored in a disappointing 1-1 draw. - From New York Times
Real Madrid, the league leader, had been held to a 1-1 draw by Villarreal earlier Wednesday.
In Italy, Germany and France, the financial advantage enjoyed by Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris St.-Germain means those three teams can absorb the occasional setback: To take advantage, after all, their closest competitors have to reach a sustained perfection that has proved, in recent years, entirely beyond them.
Even five games into the season, there was a sense that Barcelona, in particular, could not afford another miscue.
A couple of hours before kickoff, the streets around Camp Nou heaved with supporters clad in their azulgrana shirts.
Every decision David Fernández Borbalán, the referee, gave against the host team was greeted with disdain; every wayward pass, every wrong decision triggered howls of protest.