Its been a season of near perfect results for Diego Simoene’s men when it was down to the big games. A disappointing draw against their cross-town rivals Real despite a performance deserving all 3 points snatched away the chance to go top of the league – where they currently are. However, against a near full-strength Barcelona side in the quarter-final of the Champions League the Madrid side had their work cut-out. A solitary goal from playmaker Koke ensured Simeone’s men a well-deserved place in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Holding a crucial away goal advantage, Atletico had to make sure they didn’t concede anything if they were to make it to the semis. They began the game in the same fashion as they have surprised the world with their recent performances. A super-swift start was duly rewarded by a goal in just the 5th minute of the game. After some stellar work down the right, Adrian fired a shot that cannoned off the woodwork only to fall to David Villa on the left who kept his composure and calmly floated the ball across to the far-post where Adrian was present again and laid it back for Koke to fire home from close range. The young Spanish playmaker is making his case for a national team selection ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, smashed the volley into the Barca goal handing Atleti a priceless advantage.
Atletico had chances enough to win a couple of games as David Villa struck the post twice and missed a host of chances as they game progressed. Such was the level of Atletico’s performance that everytime they broke the Catalan defence wobbled. To be fair, none of the Barca players were having a particularly great outing as Messi, Xavi and Neymar missed a collection of opportunities to level the score in the tie.
Little did all of Atletico’s missed opportunities matter as the stubborn Madrid side made a rather tricky outing a relatively comfortable one even after missing key playing in Arda Turan and Diego Costa due to injuries. A side not to be underestimated, for sure.