Madrid: In a massive upset, Atletico Madrid, on Thursday, came from a first leg one goal deficit to knock defending Champions Barcelona out of the competition and book a place for themselves in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League 2016.
This is the second time in three seasons that Diego Simeone’s team has ousted The Catalans in the quarterfinal stage.
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo, who took command and sunk Wolfsburg with a hat-trick on Wednesday, to help Real Madrid overcome a 2-0 deficit, French forward and Atletico’s lead stricker Antoine Griezmann scored in each half at the Vicente Calderón to shatter all hopes the Catalans had of defending their title.
Diego Simeone’s eleven knew they had an uphill task at hand coming into the game. However, 36 minutes into the game Saul set up a beautiful curl near the inside post and Griezmann made no mistake in heading it past an air-borne Ter Stegen.
Atletico sealed it when Griezmann converted an 88th minute penalty, resulting from an Andre Iniesta foul inside the box as the 55,000-strong crowd at the Vicente Calderón roared for their stars.
(Also read: Champions League: After Real Madrid, Barcelona aim semi-final berth against Atletico Madrid)
Barcelona’s loss has also raised concerns about the form of their star World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who had yet another quiet night.
This defeat was Barcelona’s third in four games after a 39-match unbeaten run stretching back six months and has ended their quest to become the first side to retain the competition in the Champions League era.
Atletico will now face Real Madrid, Machester City or Bayern Munich for a place in the final of the European championship.