Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi did the damage in the first half with two fine goals, before Antoine Griezmann gave his side a glimmer of hope after the break. The Catalonians now take the victory and two away goals back to the Camp Nou for the second leg next Tuesday. Diego Simeone’s side have had their recent success against Barca over the past few seasons with his devastating counter-attacking style, but they were on the receiving end of the same tactics early in the first half and with just seven minutes played they  were punished by a brilliant run and finish from Suarez.

Messi played a pass to Suarez and the Uruguayan striker drove at the heart of the Atletico defence, slipped the ball around Stefan Savic and prodded low past Miguel Angel Moya and into the corner of the Madrid goal.

Atleti responded well, but Barca, content to sit back and hit their rivals on the break, almost doubled their lead midway through the half when Neymar cut into the box but shot straight at Moya.

Further, it was then Messi who made it 2-0 with a ferocious strike from the edge of the penalty area on 33 minutes which literally silenced the Vincete Calderon, as the champions of Spain extended their lead.

Koke shot over the bar just four minutes before half-time and the Spain midfielder also combined superbly with substitute Fernando Torres to move clean through on goal moments after the restart, only for Jordi Alba to make a crucial covering tackle just as he pulled the trigger.

A flighted free-kick from near the centre circle by Koke was put to the left side of the penalty area and after Diego Godin – who was completely unmarked – headed the ball across goal and Griezmann rose highest to nod it into the net for a simple goal from six yards.

Jasper Cillessen stood up well and strong to block what looked like a certain second for Griezmann, who deflected his shot straight at the Netherlands goalkeeper following Filipe Luis’ cut-back, as Atleti began to attack in earnest with the home crowd roaring its approval.

Moya finger-tipped a dipping Messi free-kick away from the top corner and the score remained 2-1 in favor of the visitors, as they inched closer towards league leaders Real Madrid.

Whether the Catalan giants will be able to catch up with their fierce rivals is still not known, though Enrique would be proud of the way that his side performed on the night, away from home.

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