Luis Suarez came to the rescue yet again as he helped Barcelona come back from behind to edge past Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter final at the Camp Nou, Tuesday.
Atletico Madrid’s stern resilience was broken twice in the second half leaving them with a tough task next week.
Barcelona fans were recovering after the 2-1 defeat against Real Madrid last weekend. Once again, Camp Nou was stunned to see Fernando Torres break the deadlock in the 25th minute to give Atleti a handy away goal against Barcelona.
Torres netted his 11th goal in 15 games against the Catalans. But soon he turned from a hero to a villain as he saw the second yellow and got his marching orders after a rash tackle on Sergio Busquets.
Atletico Madrid pushed 10 men back to guard the ball and the Spanish giants with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez kept on unleashing those shots. Somehow Atletico Madrid held on to their one goal lead till the half time.
Deigo Simeone’s men were better in the second half but only till the 63rd minute as Suarez equalised and got Barcelona back in the game. That goal was coming as Luis Enrique’s instructions were quite clear attack.
Soon after Suarez equalised, he found the back of the net again in the 74th minute as he steered a header into the back of the net and gave Barcelona that crucial lead before they visit Vicente Calderon next week.
That was the Uruguyan’s 45th goal in this season and seventh in the Champions League in just five games.
“First, let me just say we have to look at the fact we were playing against Atlético Madrid. They’re a very well organised team from a defensive standpoint. Our only defensive error allowed them to score a goal and made it even more complicated,” said Enrique
“We were much better than them from a collective standpoint. We were much better positioned too.”
Meanwhile, Simeone was happy with his players’ effort against Barcelona and he hopes that Atletico Madrid can turn things around in the second leg at their home ground.
“I’m happy to have the team that I have. It’s a great work structure and a consolidated team. We played a fantastic first half up to 30 minutes. In the second half, we tried to stay alive for the second leg.
Beyond the inequality there was in the match, we leave with a situation that allows us to have hope,” Simeone was quoted as saying by the official website of Atleti.
“Next week, I imagine a Calderón packed and chanting throughout the whole game with enthusiasm. We are still alive.”