FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts after scoring during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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Barcelona beat nearest challengers Atletico Madrid 1-0 thanks to an outstanding free-kick from Lionel Messi Sunday to move eight points clear at the top of La Liga and closer to a 25th Spanish title.Atletico, who clinched the 2014 title at the Nou Camp but have not won there since 2016, could have cut the gap with Barca to two points with a victory but coach Diego Simeone opted for a typically conservative approach.Barca lead the standings on 69 points after 27 games, Atletico have 61 and champions Real Madrid 54 .Atletico had hammered Sevilla 5-2 and Leganes 4-0 in their last two games and traveled to the Nou Camp on a run of eight consecutive wins in all competitions and with one more day's rest than Barca, who were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Las Palmas Thursday.
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