Highlights: Atletico Madrid (2)2-3(4) Barcelona; Barca qualify for Copa del Rey semis
A crazy first half at the Vicente Calderon saw Barcelona emerge victorious in the Copa del Rey quarter-final over Atletico Madrid. Leading by a Lionel Messi goal from the first leg, Barcelona made the tough trip to Atletico needing to avoid a two-goal defeat to qualify for the semi-final.
The match started perfectly for Atletico as Fernando Torres continued his great scoring run against Barcelona, having scored 7 goals in 11 matches prior to the second leg. In the first minute, Torres levelled the aggregate score with a brilliant finish from the edge of the box.
However, Atletico’s joy was short-lived as Neymar made it 1-1 on the night through a brilliant counter attack. Lionel Messi started the counter by skipping past an Atletico defender and playing the ball to Luis Suarez, who found Neymar with a brilliant outside of the boot pass. The Brazilian took a touch and buried the ball into the far post.
A moment of controversy resulted in Atletico getting a penalty. Javier Mascherano was adjudged to have fouled Juanfran inside the box, when video replays showed the contact was made outside the penalty area. Raul Garcia stepped up and duly converted the spot kick, but Atletico needed another goal to qualify as Barcelona had the crucial away goal.
An own goal minutes later by Joao Miranda shocked the home crowd. Barcelona had won a corner and the resulting kick was converted into his own net by Miranda under pressure from Suarez.
Barca were celebrating taking the lead at the stroke of half-time when Messi’s clever pass found Jordi Alba in the box and his first-time sliding pass was met by Neymar, who took a touch to beat the goalkeeper and kick the ball into the empty net. However, right before the move, Atletico were denied a penalty shout and a possible red card for Alba for a handling a goal-bound shot by Antoine Griezmann.
At half-time, an incident in the tunnel saw a red card for Gabi. Barca were instructed to play on the counter-attack by Luis Enrique as was evident by the fact that Atletico had more possession of the ball in the first half.
The second half was like the Barcelona of old as they kept the possession against 10-men Atletico. However, the goals were hard to come despite chances for both teams.
The match looked like petering out to an anti-climactic end before Arda Turan threw his boot at the linesman. Thankfully for the Turk, the shoe did not hit the assistant and Arda escaped punishment.
However, Mario Suarez was not so lucky when he got his second yellow card and marching orders for a foul on Messi in the 84th minute. Barcelona easily closed out the match against 9-men Atletico to qualify for the semis. Luis Enrique now has 3 wins from 3 matches against Diego Simeone.
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona: Fernando Torres (1’)
Mascherano’s clearance was headed by Guillherme Siqueira straight to Torres. He controlled the ball, beat Mascherano and finished with aplomb.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: Neymar (9’)
Messi’s brilliance got him free of his man and found Suarez. The Uruguayan’s exquisite pass to Neymar beat the Atletico defenders and the Brazilian ran through on goal before levelling the scores with a good finish
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: Raul Garcia (pen) (30’)
Juanfran tripped after a challenge by Mascherano and the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty kick was taken by Garcia to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s right and the keeper couldn’t save it despite guessing the correct side.
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Barcelona: Miranda (O.G.) (38’)
Barcelona levelled the score soon after when Busquets’ header of a Ivan Rakitic corner was misjudged by Miranda and he hit the ball past the helpless Jan Oblak.
Atletico Madrid 2-3 Barcelona: Neymar (41’)
Neymar beat the goalkeeper with his first touch and finished calmly. After a brilliant pass by Messi met Alba’s marauding run into the box, the full-back stretched to pass the ball first-time to the goalscorer to get his brace.
Arda Turan boot throw at linesman
Arda seemed to have lost his head for a minute when he threw his shoe at the linesman. Luckily for the Turkish International, the boot didn’t hit the linesman and he avoided any punishment.