For the second time in the last three seasons, Barcelona have been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the quarterfinal stage against Atlético Madrid, this time with a 2-0 loss at Vicente Calderón in the second leg, thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann. In a performance for the ages, Diego Simeone’s men defended perfectly, and capitalized on their biggest chance. For Barça, what could be a second straight Treble-winning season is now in danger of ending with no trophies at all if the Blaugrana are unable to figure out why they have been so poor lately.
The game started as expected, with Atleti pressing high up the pitch, recovering balls and directly taking shots on goal in every opportunity. Barça had problems with that early pressure, but slowly started to gain ground and some control of the actions.
Unfortunately for the Blaugrana, they couldn't bring any sort of danger to the Atlético defense, and the game looked set to be a scoreless draw at the end of the half. But then a ridiculous botched clearance by Jordi Alba found the foot of Saúl Ñíguez, who delivered a beautiful cross into the head of Griezmann who easily beat Ter Stegen for the first goal.
At halftime, the Colchoneros had the result they needed, and Barça needed some shots on goal before they could even think about a semifinal spot.
For the first ten minutes of the final period, the Catalans remained lost and without ideas, but from then on, they were the better team in full control of the game. Luis Enrique introduced former Colchonero Arda Turan and Sergi Roberto to increase their pressure and score the tie-winning goal.
When the Catalans looked ready to score, Filipe Luís stole a ball, ran all the way to the box and forced Andrés Iniesta to stop the play with a handball. Penalty, perfectly taken by Griezmann, who ended the tie. At stoppage time, Nicola Rizzoli did not see a clear penalty for Barça when Gabi put his hand on the ball inside the box, but the referee somehow saw the foul outside the area. #UEFALONA.
After 180 minutes, a perfect Atleti performance earned them a spot in the semis with a 3-2 aggregate result. For Barça, it's all about La Liga.
Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Lucas, Godín, Luís; Augusto (Savic); Saúl, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco (Thomas); Griezmann (Correa)
Goals: Griezmann (36', 88')
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves (Roberto), Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Arda), Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar