FC Barcelona have been able to move 11 points clear at the top of La Liga after two late goals ended the stubborn resistance of Atletico Madrid, who had Diego Costa sent off in the first half.
The two amazing goals came from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi leaving Barca as the huge favourites to win a fifth title in seven years.
Former Chelsea striker Costa was shown a straight red card for abusing referee Jesus Gil Manzano in the 27th minute.
And Suarez and Messi made Atletico pay.
With just five minutes left to the end of the match, former Liverpool striker Suarez bent in a low shot from 25 yards that beat the Slovenian keeper and flicked in off the base of the post.
Just 60 seconds later, Messi was played though down the right, cut inside two defenders and beat Oblak with a low shot for his 33rd league goal of the season.
Diego Simeone’s side were once again superbly organised, and had to be after Costa’s latest moment of ill discipline. Apparently angered by Manzano’s decision not to play an advantage, the Spain international confronted the referee and was shown a straight red card.
Several players were involved in an ensuing altercation, with Gerard Pique eventually ensuring that Costa left the field.
“I asked the referee and he told me Costa said something to him,” Simeone said. “Other players have said things and not been sent off but that does not justify what Costa did.”
Left-back Jordi Alba had already hit the post after a glorious pass from Messi, and Oblak kept out Philippe Coutinho, Messi and substitute Malcom in another fine display. He eventually made eight saves.
Atleti’s one good chance came as Rodrigo headed a free-kick over with 15 minutes left. But Suarez and Messi then struck to leave Simeone’s side seemingly in a race with city rivals Real for second place.
Messi has now won more La Liga games than anyone in history – moving ahead of former Real keeper Iker Casillas on to 335 victories.
Inter Milan cancells pre match conference ahead of Fiorentina clash
Inter Milan cancelled a pre-match news conference on Saturday after what it called an “offensive letter” about manager Antonio Conte was printed in Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
The Serie A club said the letter, submitted by a reader, was accompanied with a comment from one of the paper’s journalists “justifying its aggression”.
“In order to send out a message to all media outlets that they must ‘guarantee respect for people’, there won’t be a press conference today,” the club said.
Inter were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday, losing 2-1 to a young Barcelona team to finish third in their group behind the Spanish giants and Borussia Dortmund.
In the letter, a Bologna fan said that he “enjoyed seeing the great Inter outclassed by Barcelona B”, who had shown Inter’s “worn-out” coach how to play football.
The fan added that although Conte has won a lot of games in his career, he has “never shown a good game” and despite spending more than 150 million euros (£125m), Inter could not beat Slavia Prague and lost to Dortmund in the Champions League.
A journalist added a comment to the letter, saying that Inter have “thrown away the Champions League and maybe the rest too” by loaning striker Mauro Icardi to French side Paris St-Germain.
The journalist added: “No Icardi, No Party”.
Earlier this month, Roma, along with Inter’s rivals AC Milan, announced they would not work with Corriere dello Sport until January in response to the paper using the headline ‘Black Friday’ accompanied by images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.
Corriere dello Sport defended the “innocent” headline in a comment piece on its website, saying it was a way to celebrate diversity.
Thailand: Thanathorn call for protest against possible ban
Thai opposition party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit called for a peaceful protest on Saturday after asking supporters to mobilize in the face of a possible banon his Future Forward party.
Thanathorn, 41, has emerged as the most outspoken opponent of the government headed by former junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, 65, since elections in March that the opposition said were manipulated to favor the army.
“We reject all of violence, be it from the demonstrators or be it from government officials”.
“We believe that it’s time for the people who will not tolerate any more the NCPO regime to show themselves, to show their willingness to participate in politics,” he said, referring to the name of the former junta, The National Council for Peace and Order.
The call by Thanathorn for supporters to mobilize has revived memories of the spasms of protest in Bangkok over the past two decades of turbulent politics that were interrupted by coups in 2006 and 2014.
Thanathorn said he did not want to revive those disturbances or to call protests like those that have rocked Hong Kong this year.
Police in the Bangkok district to which Thanathorn has called his followers to gather said they had not received a request for a gathering in line with a law on public meetings, but have not said they would try to block it.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters it was inappropriate to organize a demonstration towards the end of the year.
Thailand’s election panel has asked the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Future Forward Party, accusing it of infringing laws governing political parties by accepting multi-million dollar loans from its leader Thanathorn.
Last month, the Constitutional Court found Thanathorn guilty of holding shares in a media company on the date his candidacy was registered for the election, disqualifying him as a member of parliament. Thanathorn disputed the ruling.
On Saturday, Thanathorn signed an agreement with six parties in an opposition alliance to push for changes to the constitution that was drawn up by the junta before the elections.
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