Down goes Barcelona felled by Atletico Madrid

Published Wednesday, April 9, 2014 4:20 PM by Roberto Garcia

I said it when the draw was announced.  There could have been nothing worse for Barcelona than a matchup with Atletico Madrid.  Then bam!  Barcelona v Atletico Madrid.  Everyone involved with Barca groaned.

Atletico just knows them too well.  In five matches this year Barcelona have yet to win a single game and have only even managed to score twice.  That's why the Wednesday match was such a challenge after the 1-1 draw in Barcelona.

it was all Atletico Madrid from the opening whistle as they allowed no space for Barcelona to play their lovely possession game.  Inside the first few minutes Madrid were ahead as Koke stabbed home from close range.

Atletico Madrid could have been well ahead but they were denied by the woodwork on three separate occasions.  Barcelona went to the break down a goal and with work to do.

The second half opened with Barcelona on the front foot, heaping loads of pressure on the home side.  Atletico Madrid were sitting far too deep just lumping balls out of the back.  A dangerous strategy against such a powerful attack.

Barcelona were close to the tying goal on several attacks.  Xavi lifted a flick just over the crossbar in the 49th while Neymar had a glorious chance just after but didn't even get a shot away as he was closed down by the keeper.

Inside of thirty minutes left and Barca were still searching for that tying goal.  Athletic just defend in numbers so very well.  They just seem to soak up the pressure.

Diego came into the match and immediately made an impact as his 65th minute blast forced a smart save out of Pinto.  Suddenly the field had flipped and Atletico looked like they had weathered the storm....at least for a few minutes.

Gabby had a chance to almost put the game to bed in the 70th as he raced in alone on goal via the counter.   He really needed to score but his shot didn't have the pace to beat Pinto. Two minutes later Mascherano put his shoulder into the back of David Villa who went flying in the penalty area.  Probably should have been a penalty kick. Would the missed chances and non calls come back to haunt them in the end?  Barca's Champions League life was running out.

The crowd oooooh'd as a diving header from Neymar flashed inches wide in the 77th minute.  Where was Messi though?  Almost non-existent the entire second half.  Would he have an impact in the final ten minutes?

In the end Messi would not.  As time ran out on Barca the T
Atletico Madrid fans sang loudly and celebrated the historic victory.  Out go Barcelona from the 2014 Champions League.