In Review

Luis Suarez up to his old tricks as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Fiery Uruguayan sparks Barca back to life after Fernando Torres scores and is sent off for Spanish rivals

Barcelona 2 Atletico Madrid 1.

A dramatic Champions League quarter-final encounter at the Camp Nou ended with Barcelona holding a slight advantage over Atletico Madrid ahead of next week's second leg clash in Madrid.

Missing from that tie will be Fernando Torres, the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker, who went from hero to villain for the visitors in the space of a few action-packed minutes in Barcelona.

The 32-year-old Torres has been a fading force as a forward for a while now but he suddenly rolled back the years against Barcelona, producing a clinical first-time finish from Koke's sweet pass on 25 minutes to give Atletico Madrid the lead and stun the Camp Nou into silence.

Having seen their 39-match unbeaten run ended by Real Madrid on Sunday, Barcelona were edgy in the first-half and Torres' strike sent tremors through the Catalan club. But the eruption came from Torres as he committed two wild reckless fouls in the space of seven minutes, first tripping Neymar and then barging into the back of Sergio Busquets. German referee Felix Brych correctly deemed both fouls worthy of a yellow card resulting in Torres taking the walk of shame on 35 minutes.

As Torres trooped off so Barcelona's morale soared although the hosts were fortunate not to have Luis Suarez sent off when the Uruguayan striker lashed out with his boot at Atletico right-back Juanfran. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"93121","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Suarez survived, however, and in the second half he made the most of his side's numerical advantage as he found the net twice in 11 minutes. The equaliser came just after the hour mark when Suarez finally slipped free of his marker, Diego Godin, to fire home Jordi Alba's miscued shot, and the second was a powerful header from Dani Alves cross.

It was just as well for Barcelona that Suarez had his wits about him because Neymar and Lionel Messi had both failed to convert chances that fell their way on an evening when Barcelona never looked at their best. Their coach, Luis Enrique, admitted as much in his post-match comments to reporters, explaining: "To play against Atletico, you have to be very precise and have good tempo, positioning and ball control. Maybe we didn't have that in the first half."

Nonetheless Enrique declared himself "happy" with the result ahead of the return leg at the Vicente Calderon next Wednesday, and he paid tribute to his goalscorer. "Suarez brings a work-rate and character to this team – not just goals. He has integrated himself in a special way. You could say he is half-Catalan."

Suarez spoke of his "joy" at his match-winning performance but acknowledged the dismissal of Torres had changed the complexion of the tie. "When Fernando Torres got his red card it made it hard for them," he said. "In the first 35 minutes, before the sending-off, Atletico played very well. We were given an opportunity with the numerical advantage and now it'll be a very good second leg."

Atletico manager Diego Simeone was palpably angry in the press conference, although discretion prevailed when asked about Torres' dismissal "It is for others to evaluate the decisions," he said. "I can't say what I think, but I am not angry with Fernando, for sure."

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