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Champions League: Luis Suarez double lifts Barcelona

AFP
Published : Apr 7, 2016, 4:40 am IST
Updated : Apr 7, 2016, 4:40 am IST

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez (right) celebrates his goal in their Champions League quarter-final first leg match against Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Tuesday. The hosts won 2-1. (Photo: AFP)

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez (right) celebrates his goal in their Champions League quarter-final first leg match against Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Tuesday. The hosts won 2-1. (Photo: AFP)

Atletico Madrid were left to rue Fernando Torres’s first-half red card as Luis Suarez’s double handed Barcelona a 2-1 lead, heading into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Torres got Atletico off to the perfect start as he slotted home Koke’s through ball for a vital away goal on 25 minutes, but saw two quickfire yellow cards to leave his side a man short for over an hour.

A second-half onslaught from Barca ensued and Suarez turned the game on its head as he bundled home to equalise, before powering in a header for the winner 16 minutes from time.

The sides meet once more to decide who will progress to the semi-finals at Atletico’s Vicente Caldero-n on April 13.

“Obviously a sending off in the first half will affect the game, even more when it’s a great player,” said Suarez. “Everyone knows his quality, but he made two strong fouls. It was a pity, I would have liked to come back against 11.”

However, Atletico were incensed as Suarez twice escaped punishment for a kick out at Juanfran and an off-the-ball incident with Filipe Luis.

“There were more than two incidents involving Suarez,” said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.

“I can’t say what I think, but I am not angry with Fernando for sure.”

Luis went even further by implying Uefa are scared to see Barcelona not reach the final. “I don’t know what Barca players have to do to get sent off just like us,” Luis told Spanish TV station MEGA. “You can tell there is fear that Barca will be eliminated.”

Barca had been beaten for the first time in 39 games stretching back six months by Real Madrid on Saturday and were again far from their best as Atletico looked comfortable until Torres was given his marching orders 10 minutes before half-time.

Lionel Messi was looking for his 500th career goal for club and country, but was unusually wayward as he pulled a shot beyond the front post and then miscued wildly on the volley from Jordi Alba’s dangerous cross.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone had been brave in his search for an away goal by naming Yannick Carrasco alongside Torres and top-scorer Antoine Griezmann in attack.

And the Argentine was rewarded when Koke’s through ball exploited a huge gap in the Barca defence which Torres latched onto before rifling home his 11th goal in 17 games against Barca.

Bayern take lead against Benfica In Munich, Arturo Vidal gave Bayern Munich a slender 1-0 lead for their quarter-final return leg at Benfica next week, after hitting the winner just 109 seconds into Tuesday’s first leg.

Bayern produced an off-key display at Munich’s Allianz Arena and their fifth straight appearance in the semi-finals is far from assured.

“Benfica’s back four stood up well and we missed out on that second goal,” Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said. “But despite all that, we can be very happy with the result.”

Rui Vitoria’s Benfica can take plenty of heart before the second leg at the Estadio da Luz, after subjecting Bayern to a frustrating second half in Munich.

In the build-up, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola had described Benfica as having “perhaps the best back four” in Europe. But it took less then two minutes for Bayern to break the Benfica rearguard. Franck Ribery crossed from the left and Juan Bernat, untroubled by the Benfica defenders, found Vidal in space to nod comfortably past Ederson.

Location: Spain, Katalonia, Barcelona