Atletico Madrid were left to rue Fernando Torres’s first-half red card as Luis Suarez’s double handed Barcelona a 2-1 lead, heading into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Torres got Atletico off to the perfect start as he slotted home Koke’s through ball for a vital away goal on 25 minutes, but saw two quickfire yellow cards to leave his side a man short for over an hour.
A second-half onslaught from Barca ensued and Suarez turned the game on its head as he bundled home to equalise, before powering in a header for the winner 16 minutes from time.
The sides meet once more to decide who will progress to the semi-finals at Atletico’s Vicente Calderon on April 13.
“Obviously a sending off in the first half will affect the game, even more when it’s a great player,” said Suarez.
“Everyone knows his quality, but he made two strong fouls. It was a pity, I would have liked to come back against 11.”
However, Atletico were incensed as Suarez twice escaped punishment for a kick out at Juanfran and an off-the-ball incident with Filipe Luis.
“There were more than two incidents involving Suarez,” said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
“I can’t say what I think, but I am not angry with Fernando for sure.”
Luis went even further by implying UEFA are scared to see Barcelona not reach the final.
“I don’t know what Barca players have to do to get sent off just like us,” Luis told Spanish TV station MEGA.
“You can tell there is fear that Barca will be eliminated.”
Barca had been beaten for the first time in 39 games stretching back six months by Real Madrid on Saturday and were again far from their best as Atletico looked comfortable until Torres was given his marching orders 10 minutes before half-time.