Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a 1-0 victory against Atletico Madrid by completing a beautiful give-and-go passing sequence with teammate Luis Suarez in the final minutes of the La Liga clash.
Messi's score came in the 86th minute of the matchup Sunday at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. Both sides had opportunities to score earlier in the match, but strong goalkeeping and defense kept the game tight until Messi scored the decider.
"We are happy," Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde told reporters. "These are important matches. We knew what to expect. We knew it would be tough and physical. They started stronger and I think as the game went on, we got into it."
Messi scorched down the right flank deep with Atletico territory to spark the scoring sequence. He then carved his dribble inside to the left, making a 90-degree turn while about 30 yards from the goal. Messi then slapped a pass inside for Suarez, who sent the ball right back to Messi.
Messi flew to the top of the box before squeezing a one-touch strike inside the near post, past Atletico keeper Jan Oblak, for the game's lone score.
Barcelona leads the La Liga standings over second place Real Madrid and third place Sevilla. Real Sociedad sits in fourth place, followed by Athletic Bilbao. Atletico Madrid slipped to sixth place with the loss.
Barcelona has another La Liga clash against RCD Mallorca at 3 p.m. EST Saturday at Camp Nou in Barcelona. Messi's squad returns to Champions League play with a matchup against Inter Milan at 3 p.m., Dec. 10 in Milan, Italy.