Barcelona beats Atletico in Copa del Rey semis
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DUSHANBE, 02.02.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi did the damage again for Barcelona, scoring superb first-half goals as the defending champion won 2-1 at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday, TSN reports.
Suarez scored after a run from almost the halfway line in the seventh minute, and Messi added to the lead with a powerful shot from outside the area in the 33rd.
France striker Antoine Griezmann pulled a goal back for Atletico with a 59th-minute header, and the hosts pressured for the rest of the match at a packed Vicente Calderon Stadium.
But Barcelona held on for a win that puts it in a good position to reach the Copa final for the fourth straight season after next week's second leg at Camp Nou. It has won the trophy three times in the last five seasons.
Barcelona's first goal came after Griezmann lost possession, allowing Suarez to start his remarkable run. The Uruguay striker brilliantly cleared defender Stefan Savic with one touch to open a clear path toward the goal and outran the other defenders before finding the net with a low strike from inside the area.
Messi scored his 11th goal in 12 matches with an unstoppable left-foot drive from just outside the box, hitting a mid-height shot that struck the left post before going in.
Messi and Suarez each have scored seven goals in nine matches this year.
Griezmann kept the hosts alive with his header early in the second half, igniting the crowd at the Vicente Calderon. Three minutes later he almost equalized with a close-range shot that was blocked by Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen on the line.
Messi then struck the post from a free kick in the 75th.
Neymar is suspended from the return match after being shown a yellow card early in the second half. Atletico will be without veteran defensive midfielder Gabi Fernandez for the same reason.
We will remind that Celta Vigo hosts Alaves in the first leg of the other semifinal on Thursday. Celta eliminated Real Madrid in the quarterfinals.
Source: National information agency of Tajikistan