Suarez decides Barca-Atleti thriller

Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona came from behind to beat 10-man Atletico Madrid in a rip-roaring Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Fernando Torres netted mid-way through the first half after a bright Barca start was undone by the home defence collapsing, Gerard Pique stepping out to close down Koke, no one covering and El Nino getting a run on Dani Alves to meet Koke’s through ball.

Torres didn’t last to half time, though, dismissed after picking up two yellow cards, the second of which came from a particularly brain-dead challenge.

Barca upped the ante in the second half against 10 men and the pressure eventually told, Suarez converting from close range as Atleti couldn’t hold out any longer.

He was at it again after a slick exchange in which he was fed by Lionel Messi and in turn found Alves, whose cross was diverted past Jan Oblak via the Uruguayan’s head.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was Barca’s only change from the Clasico defeat while Diego Godin and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco were fit to start for Atleti.

Messi had Barca’s first two half-sights of goal, a fierce drive from 20 yards and an attempt that missed by about that distance after Jordi Alba’s cross to the back post.

Neymar had a much more presentable chance from Alves’ right-wing cross, meeting it well with his head but putting it over, not even testing Oblak.

Antoine Griezmann had Atleti’s first real shot on goal, not far wide of Ter Stegen’s post, and the goalkeeper had no chance moments later when Torres made the most of the yawning chasm in the centre of the Barca defence.

The veteran continued to exert his influence by teeing up Griezmann, who got a toe to the ball and nearly beat Ter Stegen.

Torres and Koke received first half yellow cards for their attempts to stop Barca dribbles and counter-attacks, Atleti willing, indeed eager, to halt the hosts before they really got going.

But Torres paid for it just after the half-hour when he got his second booking of the game after going in late on Sergio Busquets.

Torres’ challenge raised the ire of the Barca players as half time approached, Neymar and especially Luis Suarez, who kicked out at Godin out of frustration, preferring to fight Atleti rather than try to equalise.

Carrasco, whose running caused Barca problems all night, fizzed in a cross to start the second half that just needed a touch to double Atleti’s lead, while Messi looked for goal No 500 with a delightful overhead kick from Neymar’s clipped cross that just floated wide.

Neymar went even closer when his curled effort smacked the crossbar before a stunning last-ditch tackle from Filipe Luis denied Messi an open goal.

Barca’s Brazilian should have done better with a header, this time low into Oblak’s arms, and Oblak made a smart save to deny Messi.

Neymar shot wide and it took a close-range poacher’s goal from Suarez to level, Rafinha coming on amid the celebrations to make his return from a long-term injury.

Suarez, who was finally booked after throwing Filipe down by the throat, doubled his tally and put Barca in front, the sheer speed of the move and the velocity of the header leaving Oblak little chance of reacting in time.

Atleti carried little attacking threat after going down to 10 men but their away goal leaves the second leg in the balance after a thrilling 90 minutes at Camp Nou.

Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid

Torres 25 (AM), Suarez 63, 74 (FCB), Torres s/o 36

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets (Sergi Roberto 80), Rakitic (Rafinha 63), Iniesta (Arda 83); Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Lucas, Godin, Filipe Luis; Saul (Correa 90), Gabi, Koke, Carrasco (Augusto 53); Griezmann (Thomas 75), Torres

Referee: Brych [GER]

Tags Fernando Torres Luis Suarez