Atletico Madrid Ousts Barcelona With 2-0 Victory Over la Blaugrana
A big surprise as Atletico Madrid ousts Barcelona. Their chances at the treble are now over.
With a three point lead at the top of the La Liga table, Barcelona was firmly positioned for a second consecutive run at the treble. Those hopes came to a crashing halt at the Vicente Calderon on Thursday afternoon. In the second leg of their Champions League clash, facing a 2-1 aggregate deficit, Atletico Madrid pulled off a decisive 2-0 victory over la Blaugrana on the strength of a brace from frontman Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman has been the most potent attacker all season long for Atletico.
Griezmann got the scoring started in the 36th minute with a terrific header off of a gorgeous feed from Saul. The Atletico defense did great work of containing the attacking trio of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar. Scoring chances were few and far between and the referees struggled to maintain order.
In the 69th minute, Luis Suarez caught defender Diego Godin with an elbow while attacking a set piece and received a yellow card. Judging by the black eye that it gave Godin, many thought it to be an offense worthy of sending him off.
Later, in the 87th minute, Andres Iniesta was called for a handball in Barcelona’s penalty area, yielding a yellow card and a penalty kick for Atletico. Once again Griezmann’s number was called and once again he delivered, firing a shot in the bottom right corner, just enough to get through the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Rojiblancos were not out of the woods yet, however, as they appeared to inadvertently handball an entry feed from Iniesta into the Atletico penalty area in stoppage time. The refs really struggled to maintain control as everyone was in an uproar at this crucial juncture of the game with both sides’ Champions League fates hanging in the balance.
In the end, instead of a penalty, Barcelona was given a free kick just outside the box. Leo Messi fired a near world class strike that just barely sailed over the crossbar, ending Barcelona’s shot at a historic consecutive treble and sending Atletico through to the semifinals where they have been drawn to face German giants Bayern Munich.
The first leg of the semis kicks off April 26th with Real Madrid taking on Manchester City followed by Bayern taking on Atletico in Madrid the following day.