Fouls, reckless tackles, red cards, goals, disallowed goals.
You name it and the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals at Camp Nou between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid had it all.
La Liga rivals and fiercely-contested competitors took part in a highly-eventful and extremely exciting game which ended with one goal on each side of the pitch and with plenty of chances that were left unused or disallowed.
Read our full match report:
Form Guide & Team News
Barcelona headed into the game at Camp Nou on the back of the nine-match unbeaten run with their foot upfront in the race to the Copa del Rey finals against Atletico Madrid. Luis Enrique was without injured Rafinha, whereas one piece of the lethal MNS trident was also missing since Neymar was serving his yellow-card suspension.
Weekend’s 2-0 triumph over Leganes in La Liga brought an end to the four-match frustration for Diego Simeone and his men. Last week’s 2-1 defeat in the first leg of the Copa del Rey finals came on the back of three consecutive draws and Atletico Madrid have gotten back to their inconsistent start to the new year once again.
Atletico Madrid manager had plenty of selection worries prior to the match in Barcelona as he missed as many as six first-team players – Barragan, Fernandez, Gabi, Gimenez, Oblak and Tiago.
Atletico Madrid showed little respect to their opponents at the beginning of the match at Camp Nou, kicking it off with a bang right from the start.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco had a chance to put his team up after only six minutes in the game when he took the ball and zig-zagged it through the defense to stand one-on-one with Cillessen who smartly and composedly cleared his shot into the middle of the goal.
Another great opportunity was wasted five minutes later when Antoine Griezmann latched onto a precise lofted pas into the penalty area, but failed to plant his header past Jasper Cillessen who warmed his hands nicely in the first 45 minutes.
Barcelona were powerless for the good part of the opening stages of the match but the big teams have one trait and that is to step up when it is least expected. Atletico Madrid ended up being kicked in their teeth two minutes before the first-half whistle when Andre Gomes played Messi, who then worked his way near the edge of the area and fired a low shot towards Moya’s goal.
Atletico keeper pushed the ball back in open play and Luis Suarez used his predatory instincts to latch on it and drill it home without any hassle.
Atletico Madrid will have been hugely disappointed having deployed impressive pressing on the Catalans, who on their own end were vacant for the good part of the term.
With Barcelona getting back fully in the game, what we witness in the second half at Camp Nou was highly eventful 45 minutes. The hosts restored much of the possession balance answering to Atletico Madrid’s pressure with some of their own.
Things changed dramatically when Barcelona were left with one man down after 57 minutes in the match as Sergi Roberto got punished for a truly bad challenge.
Atletico Madrid were given more room to attack forward and got the break they needed, but Antoine Griezmann powerful strike from within the area into the far corner was disallowed for offside in what turned out to be a poor call from the referee.
The balance was once again restored with 69 minutes on the clock when Yannick Ferreira Carrasco was sent for an early bath after a bad challenge of his own. Tempers flared in the game as Atletico Madrid dug a hole for themselves.
Barcelona held on to their ticket for the Copa del Rey final and attempted to firm the grip when Messi fired a brilliant long-range free kick which came back off the crossbar.
Just when you think that nothing else can happen in this highly-eventful game, referee Jesus Gil Manzano points to the white spot punishing Gerard Pique for mild start within the box. It was never a penalty and Barcelona fans will be claiming the justice was settled when Kevin Gameiro sent the ball blazing against the crossbar.
Atletico Madrid forward made amends three minutes later when he tapped the ball in on Griezmann’s assist within the penalty area to level the score.
Rojiblancos attempted to overturn the result but their pressure was left futile and almost punished for when Luis Suarez’s goal got disallowed for clearly visible offside on Messi’s assist. The Uruguay international not only scored one, had another disallowed, but he also got himself sent off for a reckless foul in the 90th minute of the match.
Barcelona fortunately did not pay the price for being another man down, despite Atletico Madrid’s waves of attacks in the added time.
In the end, it is Barcelona who claim their place in the Copa del Rey finals.
- Balanced possession with Barca’s 51% and Atletico’s 49%
- Atletico had 12 goal attempts to Barca’s 7
- The visitors had 10 corner kicks to Barcelona’s 3
- The total of 3 red cards and 11 yellow ones were shown in the game
- Luis Suarez has been sent off for the first time in his Barcelona career
BARCELONA: Cillessen 7 – Roberto 5, Pique 7, Umtiti 7, Alba 7 – D. Suarez 6.5 (Mascherano 6.5, Rakitic 6.5 (Iniesta 6.5), Gomes 7 – Messi 7.5, Suarez 7, Turan 6 (Busquets 6.5)
Unused subs: Digne, Masip, Paco, Vidal.
ATLETICO MADRID: Moya 6.5 – Juanfran 7, Godin 7 (Hernandez 6), Savic 7, Filipe Luis 6.5 – Gaitan 6 (Correa 6), Niguez 6.5, Koke 6, Carrasco 6.5 – Griezmann 7.5, Torres 6 (Gameiro 6.5)
Unused subs: Moreira, Moreno Fernandez, Thomas, Vrsaljko.
REFEREE: Jesus Gil Mazano
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