Entering Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semifinal first leg, Barcelona’s most recent memory at the Vicente Calderon for a cup match wasn’t a pleasant one. It was a lost 2-0 there against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinal round last year to get knocked out of the tournament.
The Catalan giants were able to erase the bitter taste still left from that match, and they did it in style.
Barcelona dominated Atletico Madrid early on and were able to outlast a second half barrage from Diego Simeone’s men. With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez stealing the show, the visitors secured a crucial 2-1 victory.
Messi and Suarez both scored in the first half as the club handled Atletico’s pressure well and didn’t give the hosts much of a chance at all in attack, despite an intense second half which saw Atletico go forward in numbers.
The win gives Barca a sizable advantage entering the second leg.
Manager Luis Enrique praised Messi’s performance post match as a key reason why the team was able to get all three points on the road.
“It’s in big, special games like this that Messi shines. There aren’t many words left to describe him. It’s in big games that we see the best of Messi,” Enrique said. “There are few adjectives to describe Leo Messi.”
The teams will meet again in the second leg on Tuesday.
Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
Suarez needed just seven minutes to stun the home crowd with a world-class goal. Look at this long run and breathtaking finish. It served as Barca’s opener but also a punch in the gut to the hosts, who saw any hope of a great early start evaporate before the match was even 10 minutes old.
But was Suarez’s goal the best of the game?
Messi put Barca up 2-0 just after the half-hour mark with this amazing goal.
It’s Stefan Savic. Did you see what the defender did when Suarez challenged him on the first goal? He got embarrassed. He underestimated the speed of the striker and now looks like a joke.
What the result means
Barca holds a nice 2-1 victory with two away goals before the second leg. That match will be on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. ET at the Camp Nou.
“We’ll try to win this in the second leg and try to keep the ball as much as possible. It’ll be a different stage, and one that’s more favorable to us. I hope the Camp Nou will be packed to cheer us on,” Enrique said.
(Relive the action with our match commentary)
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona score: Messi, Suarez pick up crucial away win in first leg