Atlético de Madrid 1 – 2 FC Barcelona
Atlético de Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Godín, Miranda, Insua; Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Arda (Cristian Rodríguez, 64´); Adrián (Adrián, 75´) y Falcao (Diego Costa, 67´)
FC Barcelona: Pinto; Alves (Bartra, 41´), Piqué, Adriano (Villa, 60´), Alba; Song (Busquets, 60´), Iniesta, Cesc; Alexis, Tello y Messi
Min.50. 1-0: Falcao
Min.72. 1-1: Alexis
Min. 79. 1-2: Gabi O.G.
After securing third place and a direct passage in to next seasons Champions League, Altetico Madrid welcomed newly crowded Champions Barcelona to a packed Calderon. Bright sunshine welcomed both side on to the pitch but before the game got under way, the victorious Atletico Madrid handball team were given a warm welcome by the fans for their recent copa del Rey success.
The game got off to a quiet start with both teams moving the ball well but the fans didn’t have to wait too long for the first chance of the game, in the seventh minute Falcao picked up the ball just outside the area and after breaking clear of his man he unleashed a left footed shot which was easily collected by the goalkeeper.
The closest Barcelona came in the first half was a Messi free kick from 25 yards out in a central area. The Argentine lifted the ball over the wall but Curtouis was well positioned to gather the ball.
Atleti continued to have the better of the chances and in the 18th minute, Adrian tried his luck from just outside the area. His right footed shot was on target but a deflection from a Barcelona defend took it behind for a corner. Koke took the resulting set piece, hung up at the back post for the Uruguayan defender Diego Godin to head back across the goal, but his attempt was just wide.
Just 2 minutes later Atleti went close again with Koke this time testing the keeper and not long later Adrian had a fine individual run where he beat Jordi Alba jinking in the box but he just lost control of the ball as he was crowded out by the Barca defence.
The sides went in all square at the break but with the rojiblancos having the best chances.
The teams were unchanged at the interval and Atleti came out hunting for the opening goal, and it was the tiger who pounced on a chance just 6 minutes after the restart. A defensive error from the substitute Bartra allowed captain Gabi to pick up the ball 25 yards out, as he was surrounded by Barcelona defender he managed to work the ball to Falcao who timed his run in to the box. He took the ball in to his stride and slide the ball past Pinto and in o the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to the home side.
Barcalona tried to find a quick reply and it was another free kick from Messi that saw them in front of the Atleti goal. This time his shot struck the Atleti wall to deny the visitor a clear shot on Courtois’ goal. They came close again in the 61 first minute where winger Alexis having two shots in quick succession but neither of them really troubled the Belgium keeper.
The Atleti faithful though they had the chance to double their lead when the ball was worked out the Arda Turan who was almost clear through on the keeper but he got the ball caught up in his feet and was closed down. He managed to lay the ball back to Koke who shot from 25 yards out but his shot cleared Pinto’s bar.
That was the last action for the Turk as he was replaced by Critian Rodriguez, the crowd in the Calderon were on their feet to thank Turan for his afternoons work. A second substitution saw Falcao brought off and replaced by Diego Costa. Simeone was thinking of the cup final coming up on Friday evening.
The changes unsettle Atleti for a while and Barca took advantage, pulling a goal back when Alexis wrong footed Courtois to score a fortunate equaliser. And fortune was on the side of the Catalans again in the 80th minute when a David Villa shot that seemed to be going wide was deflected in to his own goal by Gabi. 2-1 Barcelona with just ten minutes to play.
As Atleti pushed all they had a Barca in search of the equaliser, they threw Courtois up for two set pieces but it wasn’t to be and game ended in a 2-1 victory to the visitor. The attention will swiftly move to the cup final coming up in just five days time when the rojiblancos look for Copa del Rey joy against Real Madrid