The Champions League holders Barcelona came from a goal down to beat La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid, who were reduced to 10 men in the first half, 2-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Camp Nou.
The Catalan club’s 39-match unbeaten run was broken at the hand of arch-rivals Real Madrid on Saturday, but they responded in the best possible way with a victory against Los Blancos’ city rivals.
It wasn’t plain sailing for Barcelona though, as it was Atletico who drew first blood. Gerard Pique stepped up to challenge Koke, who threaded the ball into the space left by the centre-back for Fernando Torres to poke past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
With half-an-hour gone, Atletico nearly doubled their lead, with Torres turning provider for Antoine Griezmann, but the Frenchman’s deft touch was pushed behind by Ter Stegen.
Torres quickly went from hero to villain though, as he was sent off for a second bookable offence following a late challenge on Sergio Busquets ten minutes before the break.
Luis Enrique’s side dominated the second half because of their man advantage, with Lionel Messi and Neymar both going close for the hosts, and just after the hour-mark, Barca finally found an equaliser.
Jordi Alba marauded into the Atletico box, striking a first time volley to the feet of Suarez, who instinctively finished from close range.
10 minutes later, Suarez doubled his and Barcelona’s goal tally to turn the game on its head. Dani Alves’ lobbed ball dropped onto Suarez’s head, and he generated more than enough power to guide it past Jan Oblak from 12 yards out.
Diego Simeone’s changes suggested he was happy to be heading back to the Vicente Calderon next Wednesday with only a 2-1 deficit, as Atletico clung on without any further damage.
Arturo Vidal’s early goal proved to be the difference at the Allianz Arena as Bayern Munich narrowly defeated Portuguese champions Benfica 1-0.
With Pep Guardiola departing for Manchester City at the end of the season, he’ll want to round off his time in Germany with the grandest prize of all, and victory here takes him one step closer to that goal.
The Chilean midfielder had the ball in Benfica’s net after just 109 seconds, meeting Juan Bernat’s cross with a thumping header.
The five-time European Cup winners dominated the possession stats, but found it continually hard to break down a well-organised Benfica side.
The Bavarians nearly paid for their lack of clinical finishing too, with Renato Sanchez and Jonas pressing high up the field, and nearly forcing an equaliser.
Not long after, the visitors were nearly in again. Andre Almeida beat Bernat in a duel, and his low cross was met by Jonas, but his volley only found the abdomen of Javi Martinez.
Sensing the danger, Bayern became more intricate with their attacks, and would have perhaps doubled their lead if it weren’t for the questionable decision-making of Robert Lewandowski. Vidal slipped the clinical Poland international through on goal, but the striker tried to lay it off for Philipp Lahm instead of shooting, but the pass was horribly over-hit.
Bayern held on for the win though, and were boosted by Jonas, who has scored 32 goals in all competitions this term, picking up a yellow card, meaning he will miss the second leg at the Estadio da Luz.