Luis Suarez scored a brace for Barca in the Champions League quarter-finals to help the Catalonians win 2-1 against 10-man Atletico Madrid, and save his team from the humiliation of two consecutive defeats against Madrid clubs.
Atletico were confident and started brilliantly, as Fernando Torres slotted in a pass from Koke between the legs of Marc-Andre ter Stegen after 25 minutes.
However, Torres himself gathered two needless bookings within 7 minutes, and was sent out at the 35th minute.
Just four minutes after his 11th goal in 15 matches against Barca, the former Liverpool striker received a yellow card for a late tackle on Neymar, and another for a foul on Sergio Brusquets.
It was not the first case of indiscipline, as the team had two players sent off in their last La Liga match against the Catalan side. Nonetheless, Atletico held on, defending as a team with cohesion to interrupt the usual Barca style of quick passing.
After a flurry of chances in the second half, Suarez got in from close range after 63 minutes. He tipped in Jordi Alba’s low cross home with his shin to score Barca’s equalizer.
The Uruguayan striker did not stop there, powering into the area to head in Dani Alves’s Cross past Jan Oblak for the winner in the 74th. With that, the European champions took the advantage before the second leg at the Vicente Calderón next week.
But Atletico coach Diego Simeon and Fliipe Luis both hinted that Luis Suarez was “lucky” to remain in the game after he appeared to lash out at Atletico defender Juanfran while off-the-ball.
“They protect Barça,” defender Filipe Luis gad said. “There is a worry that they’re going to get knocked out. I don’t know what (a Barcelona player) has to do to get sent off.”
On the other hand, Simeone believed that his team is still very much in the game.
“Beyond the inequality there was in the match, we leave with a situation that allows us to have hope,” he said. “I am very happy with my team. Once again, we started winning, we were doing very well.”