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Suarez, Messi give Barcelo edge in King’s Cup semis

Barcelo, Feb 2 : First half goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi gave FC Barcelo a 2-1 win away to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their King’s Cup semi-fil at the Vicente Calderon Stadium here.

Barcelo domited the first half of the game here on Wednesday, but rode their luck in the second half as Atletico pressed for an equalising goal after Antoine Griezmann had headed them back into the tie with 30 minutes remaining, reports Xinhua.

Both sides fielded arguably their strongest team but the inclusion of Juanfran on the right of the Atletico midfield implied coach Diego Simeone was cautious of the threat posed by Messi, Suarez and Neymar.

His caution was to no effect because Barcelo needed only six minutes to open the scoring.

Javier Mascherano won possession in midfield and found Suarez, who slipped the ball past Stefan Savic before beating Moya with low finish.

Suarez and Neymar then contrived to miss a guilt edge chance on the break, before Messi doubled their lead on 33 minutes with a typical piece of brilliance as he fired home a 25 shot which went in off the post.

It was all Barcelo from then on and Atletico’s only chance before the break came when Koke shot over the bar from the edge of the Barcelo pelty area.

Simeone reacted by replacing right back Sime Vrsaljko with striker Ferndo Torres and Atletico looked more aggressive at the start of the second half, getting their reward just before the hour when Griezmann nodded home after Godin had set him up with a smart header following a free kick.

Three minutes later only a point blank save from Barcelo keeper Jasper Cillessen denied Griezmann his second after a low cross from Felipe Luis.

The game was gaining intensity and Neymar saw a yellow card, ruling him out of the return leg, shortly before Griezmann was also booked for a poor challenge on Barcelo substitute Rafinha.

Messi stepped up and his free kick was bound for the top corner before Moya produced a flying save to keep his side in the game.

At the other end Kevin Gameiro missed an overhead kick, while Torres’ flick went agonisingly wide of the post.

Torres then shot wide after Gabi had robbed Mascherano on the edge of the Barcelo area as Atletico continued to press for the equalising goal, which despite several near misses failed to arrive. IANS