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A tale of two strikers at Camp Nou as Barca edge past Atletico.

Wednesday 6th April 2016
It proved to be a tale of two strikers at the Camp Nou, with goal-scorers Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres set to dominate all the post-match headlines and debate as Barcelona came from behind to defeat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in a feisty game to take a slender advantage into the second leg of this Champions League Quarter Final tie.

Suarez struck twice in the second half to overturn a first half strike from Torres, who was sent off shortly after, providing Atletico with what could provide to be an invaluable away leg to take to into an intriguing looking second leg at the Vicente Calderon.

Torres ran onto Koke's clever pass to drill Atleti into something of a surprise lead, firing through the legs of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal. The goal marked the beginning of a mad ten minutes for Torres, who managed to score and pick up two bookings (and throw in another potentially bookable tackle between the two for good measure) in that ten-minute window.
The ex-Liverpool and Chelsea forward quickly from zero to hero, as for all the good the away goal he provided could end up doing for his side's chances of progressing to the next round, the rash and, frankly, needless way he collected his quick-fire bookings and sending off could see Atleti's hopes of progression capitulate as a result.

The sending off and reduction to ten men meant that Atletico faced a more difficult task to shut out Barca and their brilliant attack for the ninety minutes, and eventually the home side's attacking pressure and superior told, playing with a width which stretched Atletico perhaps more than would have been the case had they had 11 players on the field, allowing them to overturn the deficit.fy

Suarez was the biggest benefactor from Atletico's back-line becoming more and more stretched by the width provided by Barcelona's full-backs Jordi Alba and Dani Alves, who provided the assists respectively for the Uruguayan's second half double.

Like his fellow former Liverpool striking counterpart, Luis Suarez had a game in which he mixed goals with controversy, and Atletico may have a right to feel that Suarez perhaps should not have even been on the field off play at all to score the decisive goals.

Two separate off the ball incidents could have potentially seen Suarez dismissed as Torres was. Towards the end of a frustrating first half for Suarez and his team mates, Suarez appeared to kick out at Atletico defender Juanfran off the ball, before later seeming to rather aggressively shove left back Filipe Luis to the ground in another off the ball incident, with more than a suggestion of a leading arm.
Perhaps unsurprisingly feeling slightly aggrieved at the lack of sanction awarded to Suarez, according to the Guardian, Brazilian Luis speaking after the game said of the incidents: “I don't know what [a Barcelona player] has to do to get sent off.” Given that on another day, either of the alleged Suarez indiscretions could have rewarded in a straight red card had they been picked up by the officials, Luis's frustration is certainly understandable, particularly in a game of this magnitude.

Unlike Torres, Suarez escaped unpunished, and these are the kind of fine margins which could decide a tie in the favour of the team in which the decisions go in their favour. This time they went in Barcelona's favour, and it is the Catalans who go into the second leg ahead.
Michael Soloman
Journalist. Long-suffering Derby County fan, Lionel Messi and Barca bandwagon-er.

Total articles: 38

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