Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez

First half goals from Luis Suarez and Leo Messi gave FC Barcelona a 2-1 win away to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their King’s Cup semi-final which was played in the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez
Barca dominated the first half of the game, but rode their luck in the second half as Atletico pressed for an equalizing goal after Antoine Griezmann had headed them back into the tie with 30 minutes remaining.

Both sides fielded arguably their strongest elevens but the inclusion of Juanfran on the right of the Atletico midfield implied coach Diego Simeone was cautious of the threat posed by Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

His caution was to no effect because Barca needed just 6 minutes to open the scoring.

Javier Mascherano won possession in midfield and found Suarez, who slipped the ball past Stefan Savic before beating Moya with low finish.

Suarez and Neymar then contrived to miss a guilt edge chance on the break, before Messi doubled their lead on 33 minutes with a typical piece of brilliance as he fired home a 25 shot which went in off the post.

It was all Barca now and Atletico’s only chance before the break came when Koke shot over the bar from the edge of the Barca penalty area.

Simeone reacted by replacing right back Sime Vrsaljko with striker Fernando Torres and Atletico looked more aggressive at the start of the second half, getting their reward just before the hour when Griezmann nodded home after Godin had set him up with a smart header following a free kick.

Three minutes later only a point blank save from Barca keeper Jasper Cillessen denied Griezmann his second after a low cross from Felipe Luis.

The game was gaining intensity and Neymar saw a yellow card, which means he will miss the return leg, shortly before Griezmann was also booked for a poor challenge on Barca substitute Rafinha.

Messi stepped up and his free kick was bound for the top corner before Moya produced a flying save to keep his side in the game.

At the other end Kevin Gameiro missed an overhead kick, while Torres’ flick went agonizingly wide of the post. Torres then shot wide after Gabi had robbed Mascherano on the edge of the Barca area as Atletico continued to press for the equalizing goal, which despite several near misses failed to arrive. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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