MADRID: Barcelona went three points clear at the top of LaLiga on Sunday with a 1-0 away win at Atletico Madrid, thanks to a first-half goal from Ousmane Dembele. Rivals and second-placed Real Madrid suffered a 2-1 defeat at Villarreal on Saturday, giving Barca the chance to seize the advantage in the league after 16 rounds. Barcelona dominated the early exchanges, pressuring Atletico high up in their half and forcing them into mistakes. The visitors got the only goal of the game after 22 minutes when Dembele was played clear inside the box and sent the ball into the bottom right corner. Two minutes later, Pedri managed to get into the Atletico box with keeper Jan Oblak to beat, only for Nahuel Molina to fly in and block the shot at the last moment. The hosts started to wake up at the end of the half, taking over possession and sending Barcelona into defensive mode. Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Steigen made a crucial save three minutes before first-half stoppage time when he tipped over an Antoine Griezmann shot at full stretch. Two minutes into stoppage time, Barca’s Ferran Torres and Atletico’s Stefan Savic were sent off for violent conduct. Atletico very nearly grabbed a late point four minutes into stoppage time when Griezmann fired in a shot that was blocked on the line as the visitors held on for the narrowest of wins.