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6 Talking points from Wednesday's Champions League quarter-finals

Last updated on: April 10, 2014 10:11 IST

6 Talking points from Wednesday's Champions League quarter-finals

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Rediff Sports Desk

Koke Delight

Having already lost playmaker Arda Turan to a groin problem, there was more bad news for Atletico Madrid before the kick-off when top scorer Diego Costa, who strained a thigh muscle in the first leg, failed to make the squad.

No Diego Costa, no worries for Atletico. Koke scored early, and it was the only goal of the night against Barcelona.

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Image: Koke celebrates with Atletico de Madrid teammate David Villa after scoring against Barcelona on Wednesday night in the Champions League
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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Brilliant defensive display

It was the first time in seven years that Barça failed to reach the last four of the Champions League.

They were unable to cope with a fired-up Atletico in the opening 20 minutes of the second leg quarter-final.

Atletico turned in a brilliant defensive display, almost scoring several times on the counter-attack, to claim their place in the last four of Europe's elite competition for the first time in four decades.

It was a classic smash and grab raid and Atletico's gutsy performance was typical of a side that takes inspiration from a coach who was a combative and never-say-die midfielder and was said to play "with a knife between his teeth".

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Image: Xavi of Barcelona tackles Koke of Club Atletico de Madrid
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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6 Talking points from Wednesday's Champions League quarter-finals

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Despair for Barcelona

Atletico Madrid tamed Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Barca talisman Messi barely featured on a stage where he has so often excelled, and the team was left wondering how they failed to turn their second-half dominance into at least the one goal that would have taken the game to extra time.

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Image: Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts
Photographs: Juan Medina/Reuters

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Fans enthralled, Athletico make history

It was one of the greatest nights in Atletico's history and their fans, packed into the arena next to the Manzanares river, were thoroughly enjoying another excellent performance in the club's best season since they won a La Liga and King's Cup double with Simeone in the team in 1996.

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Image: Atletico Madrid's players celebrate
Photographs: Reuters

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Robben up to his old tricks

Few players share Arjen Robben's uncanny ability to keep trying the same trick over and over again before finally getting it right.

The Dutch international, who has made a habit of cutting in from the right and scoring with his unnervingly accurate left foot, repeatedly tried and failed to get through Manchester United's packed defence during the first hour of Wednesday's tie.

He shimmied and jinked his way past his defenders to get the ball onto his left foot, the only one he seems capable of shooting with, yet United seemed to have had him figured out.

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Image: Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben, left, celebrates with teammates
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

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Rooney missed and how

United had one opening when Rooney got clear of the Bayern defence but he dithered and failed to notice Shinji Kagawa in an unmarked position as the chance went begging.

Rooney should have put United back in front, but completely scuffed his shot with only Manuel Neuer to beat from 12 metres after Danny Wellbeck rolled the ball invitingly to him.


Image: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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