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The early goal

The Vicente Calderón can be one of the most intimidating venues in Spanish Football for visitors. Barça boss Luis Enrique admitted as much in his pre-game press conference on Tuesday before leaving for Madrid. The tried and tested method for dealing with testing atmospheres away from home is the early goal and Luis Suárez’s strike in the 7th minute was invaluable in helping quieten the Atlético faithful in Manzanares. 


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Solidity at the back

Right from the off Barça were right on the money defensively, never more so in the moments leading up to the first goal scored by Luis Suárez. Atlético striker Antoine Griezmann picks up the ball inside the blaugrana half and is immediately put under pressure by three defenders before Javier Mascherano’s perfectly timed tackle allows his Uruguayan team mate to show just why there is no more dangerous striker currently playing in world football. Luis Enrique’s team were made to work hard in the second half but in conceding just once despite sustained pressure from the home side, the blaugranes are in the driving seat in the tie. 


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Cillessen: stopper and creator

Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen once again showed that he is the last line of defence and the first line of attack. During Atlético's comeback in the second half he made more than one important save, the stop from close range to deny Griezmann a second springs to mind. In the first half many of the chances that the blaugranes created in the Calderón began at the feet of the former Ajax man. 





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Messi leading from the back

It's no great surprise that Leo Messi once again picked up the baton to lead the team in the Vicente Calderón. His spectacular effort from the edge of the box gave Barça a 2-0 lead and was the high point of another recital from the Barça number 10. The Argentine was everywhere both in the first half and in the second. After the break, with Atlético gaining momentum, Messi showed off his much underrated defensive skills, at one point chasing back 60 yards to block a cross on the edge of his own penalty area from Carrasco. 

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