Barcelona takes a 2-1 aggregate lead into the second leg after a come from behind win against Atletico today. Luis Enrique’s men looked to be still shaken up from the shocking Clasico defeat and played the first half the same way they finished the game on Saturday: Lost. However, Suarez struck again with 2 second half goals that gave them the victory. Atletico legend “el Niño” Fernando Torres scored the games first goal in the opening half making it his 11th career goal against Barcelona and the 6th at the Camp Nou. Torres quickly turned villain after 2 stupid yellow cards saw him off.
Down 1-0 to Atletico at Camp Nou in Champions League is nothing new to Barcelona. In 2014, Diego’s wonder goal surprised Pinto and gave Atletico the 1-0 lead until a late equalizer by Neymar even the score out. Atletico would eventually finish off the Spanish champions at home 1-0. A frustrating fixture for Barcelona who had no solution to Atletico’s defensive tactics. The black kits worn at the Vicente Calderon in 2014 symbolized the death of the team’s Champions League dreams.
With the addition of Luis Suarez, Barcelona now has that “plan B” option when teams decide to park the bus. A deadly “9”, Suarez is great in the air so both Dani Alves and Jordi Alba can send crosses in from the unmarked flanks. Suarez’s ability to header was not in Barcelona’s arsenal in 2014 when Fabregas played the “false 9”. His positioning as a striker is also something midfielder-turned striker Fabregas lacked. Suarez scored his first goal today simply by being in the right spot at the right time. A rebound off Jordi Alba’s shot landed right to his feet and he simply put it into an empty net.
In today’s current team, Messi, Neymar and Suarez all have the capability to win games practically on their own. We saw it last year in Champions League. Suarez handled Manchester City, Neymar handled PSG and Messi handled Bayern. A completely different case from the 2013-2014 season when a not-so-sharp Messi carried the team on his back as Neymar struggled to adapt to Europe’s way of play in his first season. In 2016, we see a deadly Suarez in the middle, Neymar on the left always wanting to cut in and either draw a penalty or shoot and Messi moving more into the creative midfield role as Dani Alves works the right flank.
Luis Suarez seems to enjoy scoring against Atletico Madrid. In just his second season, he’s scored 3 goals in 7 games since his arrival to Barcelona. Neymar and Messi also personally victimize Atletico. Neymar has 6 goals in 13 games and Messi has 25 goals during his entire career making them his favorite victim. 34 goals scored by MSN themselves against Atletico.
Sadly for Atletico, Barcelona-killer Fernando Torres will miss out next week’s game after receiving a red card today. But like I’ve said before, in soccer, anything can happen. An early goal by Atletico gives them the luxury to defend all game long and the 1-0 win at home will be enough to send them to semi finals. Although it’s very tough to hold MSN scoreless. In 2016, only Espanyol and some 3rd place Madrid team have done it. In the end, a 2-1 score is good for Barcelona, but the story is far from done..