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fixtures & results
Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid
1 April 2014 19:45 GMT
01/04/2014 19:45:00 GMT
Ref: F. Brych
Good evening football fans! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the Champions League quarter-final first leg clash between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Camp Nou!
I'm Martin Macdonald, and it is my pleasure to take you through the action!
All season long these two Spanish outfits have been battling each other and Real Madrid for supremacy at the summit of La Liga, but the next stage of the rivalry between Los Cules and Los Colchoneros takes place in Europe's premier club competition. Certainly some raised stakes in this one!
Both sides continued their march towards the Spanish Primera Division title at the weekend. Barcelona squeezed out a narrow 1-0 win over city rivals, Espanyol, and Atletico Madrid impressively won 2-1 away to Athletic Bilbao. Diego Simeone's men are currently a point clear at the top of the table.
However, domestic form will be put to one side tonight, and it may be experience at this level that proves to be the deciding factor...
The Blaugrana are looking to extend their record of having contested the semi-finals in the last six seasons, while the capital club are in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1997 and have not reached the last four for 40 years.
There has been nothing between the sides in clashes this season, though, with all matches finishing as a draw after 90 minutes. The last encounter in January was a particularly tense affair, and ended up a 0-0 stalemate.
A little bit of history for us to enjoy, folks. The sides have never faced each other in European competition, so who will make it one and zero overrall in Europe tonight?
Atletico Madrid go into the match tonight as one of only two unbeaten sides in this season's Champions League. The other: Real Madrid. Barca will be feeling a bit left out!
The Camp Nou side have only tasted defeat once in 26 games in European competition at home, so something will have to give tonight!
Barcelona have hosted Atletico 105 times before in all competitions with a record of 60 home wins, 19 Atlético victories and 26 draws.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Neymar, Messi, Iniesta.
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Courtois; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Arda Turan; Villa, Diego Costa.
Tata Martino once again hands a big match call up to Fabregas and Neymar. Many feel the form of Pedro and Alexis Sanchez warrants a starting berth, but the Argentine has stuck to his guns to go with what he feels is his strongest XI available.
Obviously, Victor Valdes misses the match (and the rest of the season) due to the cruciate ligament injury he suffered last week. Jose Pinto is given the nod between the sticks for the Catalan side.
Atleti fans can breathe a sigh of relief as it has been revealed that Diego Costa does indeed start. The recently capped Spain international was an injury doubt in the days and hours leading up to the match, but has shook off any problems to feature for his side.
Some very brave tactics from Simeone, as it appears he's going with a flat 4-4-2. In the absence of the suspended Raul Garcia, David Villa starts against his former side.
The Champions League theme sounds out in Camp Nou! What an atmosphere in Catalunya tonight!
We are under way in the Champions League quarter-finals! It's Barca versus Atletico!
Atletico have made an excellent start to proceedings here. They are typically, in true Simeone style, pressing Barca relentlessly high up the pitch and giving the opposition no time on the ball.
Dani Alves collects possession on the right and looks to gallop down the right, but his path is unceremoniously blocked by Koke who comes in with a strong challenge. Barca get the free kick, which they take quickly to get the game going again.
DAVID VILLA!!!!! ATLETICO SHOULD BE ONE UP!! Pinto hits a horrible kick out and the ball finds it's way back into the former Barca man in plenty of space inside the box, but he whips his shot wide from 12 yards!
Messi gets on the ball for the first time in the game and bursts towards goal through the middle, but he's tripped on the edge of the box and Barca get the free kick...
The Argentine dusts himself off to get up and hit the set-piece, but it's a rather tame effort that slumps straight into the Atletico wall. The visitors defend well and get the ball away from the danger area.
Los Cules are just starting to assert their dominance slightly in the middle of the park through their short, stabbing passes. Atletico are working ever so hard to claw the ball back, though.
Pique and Diego Costa have their first run-in of the night as the Atletico man goes over the top of the defender in the air. The former Manchester United man looks to have hurt his back in the altercation, but he should be okay to continue.
Fabregas receives the ball to feet in a central area and takes a few strides forward before unleashing a strike at goal from range, but the attempt cannons off an Atletico player to go out for a corner.
Xavi swings the corner kick to the back post and Neymar is lurking, but the Brazilian can't get the spring to get up and get a header at goal.
Barca have a real problem here, as it doesn't look as if Pique is going to be able to continue. He landed so awkwardly on his back in that challenge with Diego Costa, and is signalling to the bench.
Marc Bartra comes on to replace Pique in the centre of the Barcelona defence. Diego Costa will be licking his lips at the thought of bullying the substitute and Mascherano.
Piqué is replaced with Bartra.
Martino's men typically attempt to play the ball out from the back but this time it doesn't work as Atletico's sheer pressure on the ball comes up trumps as they win a throw in down the right wing.
Gabi receives the ball just outside the centre circle and jinks past the challenge of Neymar but is just clipped slightly by Xavi as the two captains clash. Atletico get the free kick on the right flank.
It has not been a good start to this match from Pinto. Yet again the Barca no.2 fluffs a kick out which goes straight to an Atletico player. If I was Simeone I'd be urging my players to test the 38-year-old.
Alba powers down the left-hand side to join the attack and cuts inside before attempting to exchange a one-two with Messi, but the Argentine's return pass is just behind the foot of his team-mate, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Dani Alves gets into an advanced position down the right wing but finds himself outnumbered by yellow shirts. He attempts to go down under the challenge of Filipe but the referee is having none of it.
Koke is the first player to go into the book after having a couple of hacks at the feet of Neymar. The German ref has had enough, and decides to brandish his first card of the match.
Koke is cautioned by the referee.
All the neat play of Barca is just happening in the wrong areas at the moment. They are seeing plenty of the ball as always, but they have been unable to penetrate the sturdy Atletico defence as of yet.
That's great defending from Bartra. The substitute has to deal with Diego Costa for the first time and does so excellently as he ushers the Atletico player off the ball. That'll give him plenty of encouragement.
Alba looks to get in behind Juanfran and latch onto an incisive threaded pass from Fabregas, but the Atletico defender just manages to get to the ball at the last minute and stretches out a leg to put it out for a throw in.
UNBELIEVABLE CHALLENGE FROM GODIN! Messi finds Iniesta inside the box with an incredible reverse pass and the Barca man swiftly turns before pulling the trigger, but the Uruguayan defender comes in with a wonderful last-ditch block! That looked a certain goal!
Dear oh dear. Diego Costa pulls up just in the middle of the park and is walking to the touchline clutching his hamstring. It would be awful news for Atletico if he has to go off.
Simeone's fears have been realised. Diego Costa wont be able to continue, and will be replaced up top by Diego. David Villa will move as the central striker with the Brazilian just in behind. A real blow for Los Colchoneros.
Diego enters play, replacing Diego Costa.
On a couple of occasions so far Barcelona have had their tails up in attack and looks to be increasing the tempo, but potential threats have been stopped by a poor touch from Neymar. The Brazilian has yet to find his feet in the game.
Barca have the opportunity to get a decent ball into the box after Arda Turan comes through the back of Alba just a few yards in from he left touchline.
Since the injury to Diego Costa, Barcelona have just upped thing a gear or two. Atletico are still remaining solid at the back, but are retreating deeper and deeper into their own penalty area.
We couldn't have another star player injured, could we? Iniesta is the latest victim as he goes down clutching his knee under the late challenge of Arda. Thankfully, the World Cup winner looks to be okay to carry on.
You can feel the tension envelop Camp Nou any time the ball looks to be making its way back to Pinto. It would appear that the Catalan faithful don't have too much faith in their stand-in keeper! You can't blame them after the shaky start he's made, really.
Gabi is yellow-carded.
Gabi is the latest player to feel the wrath of the referee as after he cynically scythes down Neymar after the Brazilian had made a jinking run inside. That's a deserved entry into the book for the Atletico captain.
Neymar goes down rather easily in the box after locking horns with Godin, but there's no way that's a penalty kick. The Uruguayan simply had too much strength for him.
Messiiii! Unlucky! Dani Alves gets into his favourite position in the inside-right channel and whips a cross to the edge of the six yard box. The Argentine rises above everyone and powers a header at goal, but Courtois manages to get down and comfortably get his body behind the ball.
It's been a bit of a role reversal in the past minute or so as Atletico are probing on the edge of the box looking for an opening but are forced back due to the superb, intense pressure on the ball from Barca.
A. Turan is cautioned by the referee.
NEYMAAAAAARRRR!!! What a hit that was! The former Santos man collects the ball on the right and tries his luck with a rasper of a strike from 25 yards. It just doesn't dip in time though and goes north of the bar!
Saaaaaaaave by Pinto! David Villa takes advantage of some nervous defending at the back from Barca to pounce on a loose ball and curl a strike towards the far corner, but the goalkeeper gets down to turn the ball away with a great stop!
Half time in Camp Nou. An exhilarating but goalless first half ends in the first leg of this Champions League quarter-final as we go into the break at 0-0. Atletico have certainly had the better of the chances through David Villa but the biggest news of the match perhaps comes through two injuries. Key players Diego Costa and Gerard Pique both had to be withdrawn after picking up knocks, which resulted in some tactical rearranging. Fascinating clash so far!
We are back under way at Camp Nou!
Barca, and Iniesta in particular, looking bright in the opening stages. The Albacete-born player has already had a couple of strong runs down the left-hand side, but Atletico just have so many men back covering it has been hard to find an opening.
Some nice work down the right wing by Juanfran, Diego, and Gabi results in the on-loan Wolfsburg man going down under the challenge of Jordi Alba. Really good opportunity for Atletico to get a ball into the box here.
Iniesta glides forward though the centre but the sting is taken out of the Barca attack after Juanfran pulls the shirt of the midfielder. The Atletico right-back is correctly awarded a yellow card by the ref for his trouble.
Juanfran is cautioned by the referee.
It doesn't stop Iniesta for long though! The Camp Nou crowd gets up out out their seats in expectancy as the Spaniard goes on a signature jinking run through the middle of the park. The ball eventually finds it's way to Neymar who takes an assured touch on the chest but Atletico just manage to clear the danger away!
It is a war zone out there at the moment! The tackles are flying in all over the place and the madness only ends as Iniesta is penalised for a challenge on Diego.
Iniesta is cautioned by the referee.
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR ATLETICO MADRID!! Diego sends the away fans into raptures with an UNBELIEVABLE strike! The Brazilian shakes off the attentions of the defender before sending a stunning strike into the top corner from 30 yards!! One-nil! INCREDIBLE!
Gabi provided the assist.
This match has just completely lit up, and in some style! You may be seeing that goal for some time!
Barcelona must keep their heads here, and this is exactly what Alba doesn't do as he frustratingly hacks away at Arda looking to claw back the ball. He goes into the book, and deservedly so.
Jordi Alba is yellow-carded.
That goal from Simeone's men has just completely stunned the Camp Nou crowd. There are factions attempting to get the singing going but most of the fans are still in shock. Still plenty of time for the hosts to get back into this, though!
Penalty shout for Barca! Iniesta exchanges a lovely one-two with Fabregas before bursting into the penalty area and going down after brushing past Juanfran. The ref once again waves play on!
Great save by Courtois! The ball breaks kindly on the edge of the box for Busquets and he cuts a superbly struck volley towards the bottom corner, but the Belgian gets across goal to beat the attempt away for a corner!
Messiiiii! Dani Alves receives the ball at the back post and drills a volley into the box! The Argentine looks to divert a header towards goal but it goes a good few yards over the bar!
You wonder how long Atletico are going to be able to keep up their intense pressing high up the field, as it surely must be tiring. They just need to keep their heads about them and not make any daft mistakes.
Tata Martino realises something needs to change in that Barca frontline and introduces Alexis Sanchez in place of the disappointing Fabregas. Iniesta will move back into the centre of midfield.
A. Sánchez enters play, replacing Fàbregas.
Diego Simeone follows suit and makes a change of his own as he brings on Jose Sosa for David Villa, who's looking rather perturbed as he receives boos from the Camp Nou crowd on his way off the park.
J. Sosa comes on for David Villa.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLL FOR BARCELONA!! THE HOSTS GET THE EQUALISER!! Iniesta finds Neymar with an absolutely sensational pass in behind the defence and the Brazilian confidently whips a strike into the right corner! One-one! GAME ON.
Iniesta gave the assist.
INIESTAAAAA!! WHAT A SAAAAAAAVE FROM COURTOIS!! The ball breaks to Iniesta 25 yards out and he curls a beauty towards the right corner, but the Atletico keeper somehow gets across goal to tip the attempt round the post! World class stop!
This is all Barcelona at the moment. That goal has given them a real incentive to go ahead and find the winner and they are laying siege to the Atletico goal at the moment. The hosts cannot get out of their own box!
Atletico Madrid make their third and final change of the match as Cristian Rodriguez comes on for Arda Turan. The Uruguayan should provide a decent outlet down the wing; plenty of pace to burn.
A. Turan is replaced with C. Rodríguez.
Atletico are digging deep here! In his attempts to reclaim the ball, Diego goes in with a slightly two-footed challenge and ends up being awarded a yellow card. This certainly hasn't been a friendly I'll tell you that!
Diego is cautioned by the referee.
Just under 10 minutes remaining here for Atletico to hold out and claim a massive first leg draw at Camp Nou. Still time for someone to snatch a winner though, but who will it be?!
We've perhaps seen a sign of Atletico's slightly waining ambition here as Jose Sosa breaks forward on the conterattack but opts to revert back and play back to Juanfran rather than bursting forward. An intelligent move, but the right one?
Saaaaaaave from Courtois!! Barca get the free kick on the edge of the box and Messi clips the set-piece towards the top corner, but the Belgian again somehow stretches out an arm to save his side! He's been wonderful tonight!
This is just absolutely electric football here! There's three minutes to go and the tempo of the game is that of the beginning of the match! Barca really really want this first leg win!
The pressure is taken right off Atletico Madrid for a few moments as Bartra pushes Felipe in the back in the middle of a set-piece move. Not too much longer for Simeone's men to hold out here! All hands on deck!
Three minutes of added time in Camp Nou! Will the yellow wall of Atletico be breached!?
J. Sosa receives a yellow card.
Full time in Camp Nou! Atletico Madrid earn a fantastic 1-1 first leg draw against Barcelona in this Champions League quarter-final. Diego opened the scoring in the second half with an absolutely stunning strike from 30 yards but the Catalan side clawed one back through a brilliant move orchestrated by Iniesta and finished by Neymar. Diego Simeone's men take a potentially vital away goal to the second leg at Vicente Calderon! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
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