Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Luis Suarez earns first-leg advantage
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 06/04/16 10:31am
Luis Suarez struck twice to help Barcelona come from behind to secure a 2-1 first-leg advantage against 10-man Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night.
Fernando Torres put Atleti ahead at the Nou Camp after 25 minutes, but the game turned when the former Chelsea striker saw red for two yellow cards in quick succession before half-time.
Suarez, who appeared to kick out at Juanfran in the first half but escaped sanction, tapped home Jordi Alba's volley after 65 minutes to level.
And the Barca striker headed home 11 minutes later to ensure Luis Enrique's side take a narrow advantage to the Vicente Calderon for the second leg on April 13.
The Barca manager made just one change from the Clasico defeat, with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen replacing Claudio Bravo in goal, while Atleti welcomed back Diego Godin as one of two changes from their weekend victory over Real Betis.
And a bad-tempered encounter saw German referee Felix Brych hand out 11 yellow cards as Barca fought to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time since April 2003.
The hosts were quickly on the front foot as Messi squandered the opening chance of the match when he volleyed wide from Alba's cross.
Neymar then headed over as Atletico came under heavy pressure but the visitors remained solid and went ahead through Torres.
Koke sliced open the Barca defence and the Atleti striker fired a first-time finish through the legs of Ter Stegen for his first Champions League goal since 2014.
Four minutes later he picked up his first yellow card for a crude challenge on Neymar, and he was given his marching orders after bundling into Sergio Busquets ten minutes before the break.
In between the two yellow cards, Atleti nearly added a second away goal as Ter Stegen tipped wide Antoine Griezmann's shot, but the man disadvantage soon saw the visitors retreat.
Barca struggled to shake off the lethargy that plagued their Clasico performance, and tested Jan Oblak just once in the opening 45 minutes.
That changed after the break as Neymar rattled the crossbar before Messi drew a low stop from the Atletico goalkeeper with a shot from distance.
But Suarez made the pressure count when he got the hosts on level terms with his 44th goal of the season.
He found himself in the right place at the right time to bundle home from close range after Alba's volley landed at his feet, and he was soon celebrating again.
Messi picked out the Uruguay international, who played a neat one-two with Dani Alves before latching onto the return cross to power past Oblak.
An ugly game threatened to turn sour as Suarez then clashed with Filipe Luis, and Messi saw a late penalty shout turned down by the referee.
But Atletico managed to hang on without conceding again to set up a finely poised second-leg in Madrid.