Atletico Madrid looked like they had Barcelona’s number early on, with Fernando Torres opening the scoring and the home side really struggling. A Luis Suarez brace eventually turned things around though, with the Catalan giants taking a narrow lead into the second leg.
Atletico are arguably the best defensive side in the world right now, and they showed it this past Tuesday night. They regularly had 11 men behind the ball, and Barcelona really weren’t creating anything of note.
They really looked in control when Torres gave them the lead, capitalising on some poor defending to get his goal. Saul Niguez wasn’t picked up properly in midfield, and was given far too much space in front of the back four. Gerard Pique was eventually forced to come out and make a challenge, which left Torres free to make a run which was picked out by his teammate. He slotted it through the legs of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, giving his side a 1-0 lead.
He went form hero to zero pretty quickly though, picking up two yellow cards in relatively quick succession. He made a handful of foolish challenges which simply weren’t necessary, and while some could argue it was a little harsh from the referee, Torres was mad to give him that kind of decision to make.
Suarez arguably should have been sent off in the first half too, and potentially again in the second half. The Uruguayan forward kicked out petulantly at Juanfran early on, and then threw Felipe Luis to the ground by the throat in the second half.
The fact that Luis Suarez remained on the pitch certainly helped the home side, as the former Liverpool striker was the one who got both their goals. His first one was a little lucky, with a mishit shot from Jordi Alba falling straight at his feet. The second was pure class though, with a quick passing move finishing with a powerful header from the clinical finisher.
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Although Atletico can feel a little aggrieved that they are going into the second leg a goal behind, they can take solace from the fact that they’ve secured what could be a massive away goal. They only need a 1-0 win at home, and while any type of win against Barcelona is a tall order, Atletico are notoriously strong at the Vicente Calderon.