Copa del Rey: Atlético 2 – 3 Barcelona
Catalans through to semi-finals after poor performance from Atleti
Atlético Madrid are out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage after an extremely disappointing 3-2 defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday evening. The tie finished 4-2 on aggregate.
It was an incredible first half, with goals, talking points and incredible moments throughout. However Atleti’s self-discipline let themselves down in the end, and the nine rojiblancos left on the pitch at the end of the night have very little to be proud of.
It all started so well, with a Fernando Torres goal in the opening 40 seconds. A long ball forward to Torres was brilliantly taken by the Spaniard, who took a step past Mascherano before firing a shot off the post and into the back of the Barcelona net.
However this was the only similarity between this game and the last round of the Copa del Rey, where Torres scores in the opening minute of the match.
Barcelona almost replied straight away through a Rakitic free-kick, but this was batted away by Jan Oblak in the Atlético goal.
However Barcelona were level inside ten minutes. A defensive lapse from Atleti, without the suspended Diego Godín, allowed a completely unmarked Neymar to race through on goal. Juanfran chasing him did little to stop the inevitable, as the Brazilian shifted the ball to the side before finishing almost effortlessly past Oblak for the away goal.
It was a feisty first half from Atleti’s point of view, with tackles flying in from all over. Mario Suarez took three separate chunks out of Messi in the opening 20 minutes, and despite the protests of the Barcelona players, didn’t see a card from the referee.
Atleti had an opportunity to make it 2-1 shortly after, after an Arda Turan corner was flicked on by Fernando Torres. The header didn’t have enough pace to trouble the goalkeeper, and the ball was very quickly up the other end and in the net for Barca. However some quick thinking from the Barcelona goalkeeper caught Neymar offside just inside the Atleti area.
Then followed one of the most ridiculous moments of this evening, as after putting the ball out for a throw-in, Jordi Alba skipped back onto the pitch only to be caught on the top of the head by the assistant referee’s flag.
The Spanish full-back went down like a sack of bricks, but miraculously recovered a few minutes later and handed the flag back to the linesman.
Juanfran was denied a free kick a couple of minutes later after he nutmegged Alba, but got his reward almost immediately after when he nutmegged Mascherano and drove his way into the box. The Argentinean didn’t get out of the way fast enough and Juanfran went hurtling to the ground. The referee pointed to the spot, and Atleti had a penalty.
Replays confirmed contact was made outside the area, but Raúl García stepped up and dispatched the penalty comfortably anyway. Atleti had a 2-1 lead.
Ridiculous moment number two followed shortly, when an Ivan Rakitic corner was whipped in to the Atleti box. Miranda, who wasn’t alone in having an awful game, tried to clear it with his right foot but the ball ended up cannoning off of his shin and into his own net. 2-2.
Atleti worked hard to get over the disappointment of conceding again, and some excellent build-up play set up a chance for Antoine Griezmann to restore the lead. The Frenchman, starting up-front alongside Fernando Torres, volleyed a shot towards goal and it was blocked by the arm of Jordi Alba.
Ridiculous moment number three.
The referee waved away the protests for a penalty, and within 17 seconds, the ball was in the back of Atlético’s net. Messi ran the length of the field with the ball, before crossing to Alba. The defender acrobatically cut it back for Neymar, who nonchalantly put the ball past Oblak. 3-2 to Barca, and Atleti had an absolute monster of a mountain to climb.
The referee blew for half-time, and there was a scuffle between the players on the way off of the pitch. Torres shoved Neymar, and Mario Suarez was having a bit of a rant at one of the Barca coaches. Tempers were flaring.
Next thing we know, the players are out for the second half. Well, almost all of them.
Griezmann has been substituted and on comes Saúl. Strange for a team that needs three goals to win. Then it became clear what had happened as ridiculous moment number four reared it’s ugly head.
Gabi had been sent off during the half-time break for allegedly insulting the referee, according to a number of sources.
This was quickly followed by number five, as Arda Turan, after being wrestled off of the ball and not given a free-kick, decided to pick his stray boot up off the floor and lob it at the assistant referee. He was booked, but was very fortunate not to be sent off. He may face a ban retrospectively.
The second-half was basically a non-event. Atleti moved to a defensive formation after losing a player, and did well to defend against a number of Barcelona attacks throughout the second 45 minutes.
Messi should have made it 4-2 on the night after Neymar played it in, but he only managed a weak shot against Oblak.
Mario Suarez finally accomplished what he had been trying to do all night in the 69th minute, when he was booked for a foul on Messi.
The Spaniard went one better in the final ten minutes as he was sent off for another ridiculous foul on Messi.
Cani came on for his debut and looked lively. The best chance of the second half for Atleti fell to the on-loan Villarreal player, who chested the ball up and volleyed it brilliantly at ter Stegen.
All-in-all, it was a poor display of discipline from Atleti, who received six bookings and 2 red cards on the night. There was no focus as the content went on, and can have no complaints about failing to reach the semi-finals.
|F Torres 1'||Neymar 9'|
|Raúl García (p) 30'||Miranda (og) 38'|
|Copa del Rey QF 2nd Leg|
|28 January 2015|