Radamel Falcao and Atletico Madrid got off to a brilliant start, but the final 60 minutes of Sunday's match belonged to Barcelona.
A match that started as one of the best and most closely contested matches between big teams in La Liga this season quickly turned into a rout at the Camp Nou. Atletico Madrid, who rode into Sunday night's match in second place, got off to a brilliant start and took the lead in the first half against Barcelona. Their lead lasted just five minutes, however, and they trailed the Blaugrana by halftime.
Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half, adding his 89th and 90th goals of the season in Barcelona's 4-1 victory. Atletico Madrid's goal turned out to be their only shot on target, and Barcelona took complete control of the match very early in the second half. The match appeared to be over well before Messi's first.
Radamel Falcao was unstoppable in the first 30 minutes for Atleti. He rattled the post with a brilliant header in the opening 10 minutes, then narrowly missed putting his side ahead shortly afterwards when he pulled a shot just wide after a brilliant surge past the Barca defense. Eventually, he would get his goal, scoring with a stunning chip over Victor Valdes in the 31st minute.
Adriano fired Barcelona back into the game with a curling strike from outside the area that matched the class of Falcao's goal just five minutes earlier. Just before halftime, Sergio Busquets netted Barcelona's second, placing a composed shot into the back of the net at the end of a mad scramble in front of the Atleti goal.
That goal seemed to break Atletico Madrid's spirit. Up until that point, they looked as if they truly believed that they could win at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi completely shattered their will in the 57th minute, scoring with an excellent turn and placed shot to put his side up by two goals. He added one more in the 88th minute, capitalizing on a giveaway at the back to put Atleti away for good.