Skip to content

Atlético Madrid breaks through, sends Barcelona out of Champions League

Apr 9, 2014, 4:39 PM EDT

koke Getty Images

For the first time in seven years, Barcelona will not be among the last four teams standing in UEFA Champions League. After Koke’s early goal stood up at the Vicente Calderón, Atlético Madrid is through to its first semifinal in 40 years, with the team’s 1-0 (2-1, aggregate) win escorting the three-time champions out of the tournament.

Atlético struck first during a dominant opening spell, with a slew of chances near the five-minute-mark allowing Koke to blast home the game’s only goal. Though the Spanish leaders produced a series of close calls on both sides of halftime, they were made to defend their 1-0 lead to the final whistle, eventually producing their first win of the season over Barcelona.

Between La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, and Champions League, the teams had faced each other four previous times this season, with each match ending in a draw. Last week’s game in Barcelona saw Atlético take a 1-1 result out of the Nou Camp, with the away goal potentially looming large in today’s second leg.

Thanks to Koke’s opener, however, Atlético didn’t need to rely on its tiebreaker edge. Finally breaking through against last year’s Spanish champions, a team that hasn’t been to the finals since 1974 is one step closer to another shot. Diego Simeone’s team joins Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and rival Real Madrid in Europe’s final four.

An overwhelming opening 12 minutes put Atlético on the scoresheet early. Unable to deal with the hosts’ high pressure, Barcelona gave up a series of chances in the fifth minute, with a sequence that started with an Adrían López shot off the right post ending with Koke slamming the opener into an empty net. In a spell where Atleti had three chances, the final one was the charm. For the third time in five meetings, Atlético struck first against Barcelona.

Throughout the first half, Simeone’s side had a number of chances to take its first two-goal lead over Barcelona this year. Moments after the opener, Atlético’s pressure produced another opportunity, with David Villa’s shot going out for a corner after Dani Alves’ desperate block. In the 12th minute, a Villa blast from the left hit the near post, while another chance for the former Barcelona striker nailed the cross-bar in the 21st minute.

source: AP

Lionel Messi had three chances to get Barcelona on the scoreboard but extended his scoreless drought to six games against Atlético Madrid. (Photo credit: AP Photo.)

By that time, Barcelona had come into the match, adjusting to Atlético’s pressure to maintain two-thirds of the half’s possession. Chances were still difficult to come by, however, even if the best opportunities fell to the team’s danger man. Shortly after Villa’s first shot off the post, Messi was given a free header from near the Atlético penalty spot, but he was unable to steer the Alves cross on goal. Later in the half, after Neymar beat two players down the left, a ball sent across the top of the six couldn’t be put on target, with Messi pushing his shot wide of the near post.

At the beginning of the second, Barcelona started looking more like their normal selves, proving more purposeful with its possession in the half’s opening moments.  In the 48th minute, a perfectly weighted Xavi Hernández through ball tested Atlético goalkeeper Thibault Courtois, with the Belgian charging off his line to get a left hand to the ball as Neymar tried to touch it into space. Moments later, as a recovering Courtois stumbled near his line, a ball falling to Messi was volleyed over the bar, with Barcelona’s biggest star missing another chance to bring his side level.

The close call served as a wake up call for Atlético, who kept Barcelona without any meaningful chances over the next 15 minutes. Once the game began opening up, it was the home side who proved more threatening. Substitute Diego blasted a chance from a sharp angle into Pinto’s gloves in the 65th minute. Gabi failed to convert a breakaway created by Villa in the 71st minute, weakly hitting a shot into Pinto’s boots. Javier Mascherano was fortunate not to draw Howard Webb’s whistle while playing catchup on Villa in the 72nd. Just as in the first half, Atlético was collecting a serious of misses that would only heighten the heartbreak, should Barcelona come back.

Even as Atlético started to recede further into its own half, it was still producing the better chances. New full-time, substitute Cristian Rodríguez was sent in on down through the left of the penalty area only to put another shot off Pinto’s gloves. Moments later, pressure on the Barcelona keeper saw Víctor Valdés’ backup send a ball back across this empty goal. Though Barcelona was pursuing an equalizer, it was Atlético that was applying the pressure.

Come full time, a matchup that had been gloriously even through 360 minutes finally had a decisive winner. With an early goal and tests of ever part of Pinto’s goal, Atlético was clearly the better side, leaving both sides no doubts as to who deserved a spot in the Champions League semifinals.

Latest Posts
  1. Bassett’s long journey takes cruel twist, but England women show future is bright

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:11 PM EDT

    EDMONTON, AB - JULY 01:  Laura Bassett of England is comforted by Jo Potter after the FIFA Women's World Cup Semi Final match between Japan and England at the Commonwealth Stadium on July 1, 2015 in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Full credit to England for an inspiring World Cup, and to Japan for getting to a second straight World Cup final.

  2. Clavicle injury could cost Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez his Gold Cup (video)

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:51 PM EDT

    during practice for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 5, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. Getty Images

    Three weeks from tonight are the Gold Cup semifinals, with the final on July 26 in Philadelphia.

  3. The world wants Laura Bassett to know that her own goal is nothing to be ashamed of…

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:11 PM EDT

    during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Semi Final match between Japan and England on Canada Day at Commonwealth Stadium on July 1, 2015 in Edmonton, Canada. Getty Images

    From Brandi Chastain and Jeb Brovsky to total strangers from England and beyond, my goodness, people are trying to console Laura Bassett.

  4. Minnesota United misses MLS stadium deadline; Deputy commissioner speaks out

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    BLAINE, MN -JULY 19: Minnesota United FC defenseman celebrates with fans after scoring a goal on Swansea City in the first half of their friendly soccer match on July 19, 2014 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota. Minnesota United FC defeated Swansea City 2-0.(Photo by Andy Clayton-King/Getty Images) Getty Images

    United says it remains committed to bringing MLS to Minnesota, and it’s worth wondering if the rival Minnesota group is hampering progress.

  5. Stoppage-time own goal sinks England, sends Japan to Women’s World Cup final

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:02 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Defending champion Japan advances to second straight Women’s World Cup final.

  6. Targeted by Man Utd and other giants, Ilkay Gundogan extends deal with BVB

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT

    MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 28:  Philipp Lahm of Muenchen challenges for the ball with Ilkay Gündogan of Dortmund during the DFB Cup semi final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Arena on April 28, 2015 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Big story for Dortmund, even if it’s a bit under-the-radar.

  7. VIDEO: Donovan talks USWNT, perceived anti-Klinsmann Tweet on “The Dan Patrick Show”

    Jul 1, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Ecuador v United States Getty Images

    Donovan, of course, was left off the World Cup roster last summer by Klinsmann, much to the chagrin of many U.S. fans.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Japan and England duel for World Cup final date with the USWNT

    Jul 1, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    AUGSBURG, GERMANY - JULY 05: Sophie Bradley of England is challenged by Azusa Iwashimizu of Japan during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 group B match between England and Japan at the FIFA World Cup stadiumon July 5, 2011 in Augsburg, Germany.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) Getty Images

    England’s fairytale run to its first Women’s World Cup semifinal meets the reigning champions in Edmonton on Wednesday

  9. Finally with New York City FC, Lampard’s teammates react after first training session

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:50 PM EDT

    instagram.com/davidvilla instagram.com/davidvilla

    Shay Facey knows Lampard from his time at Manchester City, and wasn’t bashful in praising the situation.

  10. Daley Blind’s father Danny tabbed as Guus Hiddink’s Netherlands successor

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:10 PM EDT

    Daley Blind of Holland, assistant trainer Danny Blind of Holland during the International friendly match between Netherlands and Spain on March 31, 2015 at the Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images) Getty Images

    The legendary Ajax defender will be stepping up from the assistant’s chair to try and rescue Holland’s Euro 2016 fate.

  11. Inter Milan adds Miranda as rebuild continues at San Siro

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:26 PM EDT

    MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 17: Joao Miranda (L) of Atletico de Madrid wins the header before Stefan Kiessling (R) of Bayer 04 Leverkusen during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 17, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He’s the latest addition for Roberto Mancini at the San Siro, along with Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and Granada defender Jeison Murillo.

  12. Stars of CONCACAF: Ranking the top 10 players at the 2015 Gold Cup

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    As we gear up for a massive Gold Cup tournament, here’s a look at the superstars who will be on show in the United States of America.

  13. Done Deals: Swansea sign Eder, Douglas to Bayern, Martinez to Atletico and more

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT

    FC Bayern Muenchen - Training Session Getty Images

    With the summer transfer window officially open, plenty of deals have started to trickle through. Here’s a roundup of the latest.

  14. VIDEO: Abby Wambach wants Japan in World Cup final for “fairytale ending”

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT

    USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

    USWNT legend Wambach joins the Dan Patrick show to preview the Women’s World Cup final.

  15. World Cup semifinal preview: Defending champs Japan take on England

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    England v Canada Quarter Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Getty Images

    Can the Three Lionesses cause another upset to set up a clash with the USA in the final?

  16. Radamel Falcao’s family claim he has sealed transfer to Chelsea

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Falcao AP

    Colombian forward is inching towards a move to Stamford Bridge.

  17. Julie Johnston hails USWNT’s resilience, togetherness after reaching World Cup final

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    FBL-WC-2015-WOMEN-MATCH49-USA-GER FBL-WC-2015-WOMEN-MATCH49-USA-GER

    After giving away a PK in a pivotal moment of the USWNT’s World Cup semifinal, Johnston thanked her teammates for their support.

  18. VIDEO: Watch Lionel Messi embarrass Paraguay defenders to lead Argentina rout

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    The little magician grabbed three assists and carved open Paraguay’s defense time and time again. Sublime.

  19. PHOTOS: Rayo Vallecano unveil jersey aimed to fight homophobia, pay tribute to “unsung heroes”

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

    Source: @RVMOficial Source: @RVMOficial

    Spanish club reveal snazzy new jerseys with plenty of meaning behind them. Check out the rainbow inspired get-up, here.

  20. “Angel Di Maria has most talent at Manchester United,” says teammate. Agree?

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

    Despite Di Maria’s stop-start debut campaign at Old Trafford, the Argentine international still has the backing of his teammates.

Featured video

PST Extra: Done deals & transfer gossip