|Barça players celebrate goal vs Atletico Madrid|
FC Barcelona have booked their place in the final of the 2016/2017 Copa del Rey after knocking out rivals Atletico Madrid 3-2 on aggregate in the semifinal following a 1-1 second leg draw at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
Goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have the Catalans a 2-1 lead from the first leg and they’ll have that result to thank as it ensured that there was no problem after Barça pulled off an unconvincing performance to play out a 1-1 draw in the return leg at the Camp Nou in a thrilling encounter that saw three players sent off with Barça being reduced to 9 men.
Luis Suárez gave Barça the lead in the first half but then saw red in the second, Kevin Gameiro missed a penalty for the visitors but made no mistake to put his team back on track after getting the equaliser late in the second half. But after everything, it’s Barça who leave the happier side.
Atletico Madrid knew they needed at least two goals to qualify, so they attacked Barça from the first minute. They started the brighter team and got the first big chance of the game when Yannick Carrasco easily beat Sergi Roberto to give himself some space on the left but his shot was well saved by Jasper Cillessen who was in top form.
Atletico Madrid came ridiculously close once again, this time from a Savic close range header which went on target but Cillessen denied the defender somehow. It happened after Cillessen was on hand again to deny Koke who unleashed a powerful drive from outside the box. First 25 minutes it was all Atléti with Jasper Cillessen keeping the Catalans in the tie.
It was until the 27th minute that Barça got their first shot on target when Messi tested Moya for an easy save. But Barça would get the opener four minutes before the break after Messi did well to get past three defenders in a solo run before unleashing a low shot which was too hot for Moya as the goalkeeper could only parry into the path of a free Luis Suárez who tapped into an empty net.
Atléti kept on attacking in the second half and received a huge boost after Sergi Roberto was shown a red card, a second yellow for a bad tackle. Diego Simeone’s men took the advantage almost immediately after Griezmann had the ball in the back of the net but it was wrongly ruled out for offside much to the relief of Cules.
Atléti were dominating Barça, most of the ball was played in Barcelona’s half but they couldn’t get the finishing touches.. Barça had Gerard Piqué to thank later on after he made a fine clearance to stop a chance. Luckily for Barcelona, Yannick Carrasco was shown a second yellow for a tackle on Arda Turan with around 20 minutes left to play, it evened the game to a 10-a-side.
Lionel Messi almost finished the tie off for Barcelona on the 76th minute but his powerful shot from a free kick was denied by the crossbar after easily beating Moya in goal. The drama continued when Atléti were awarded a penalty after referee Gil Manzano thought Piqué fouled Gameiro in the box, the Frenchman stood up to take the kick but unfortunately, fired over the bar with just around 10 minutes left to play.
Barça thought the win would be an easy one after that but that wasn’t the case as Griezmann set up Gameiro for a tap-in two minutes later to put the tie at 1-1 and 3-2 on aggregate, one more goal for Atléti and they’ll be heading to extra time, Barça suffered from there.
Atletico Madrid threw everyone forward in search of the goal and Barça were lucky enough to escape a scrappy half chance for Atléti after Koke cross wasn’t met by an Atléti player. The referee made things worse for Barcelona as he showed Luis Suárez a second yellow which means the Uruguayan along with Sergi Roberto will miss the final. Worst of all, the referee added five minutes of stoppage time.
Atléti kept on serging forward for the goal but the Barça defence was equal to the task, they got a very good chance late on from a shot but Samuel Umtiti made an outstanding block to deny it. Bar Ramona held on and got the result, qualifying for their third consecutive Copa del Rey final, their 7th in 9 years and keep their goal of winning a third consecutive crown well on track, they’ll face Alavés or Celta Vigo in the final.