BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 05: Luis Suarez of Barcelona shoots during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 5, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Champions League: Barcelona come from behind as Bayern Munich grind out a win

Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid

Fernando Torres might have given Atletico Madrid a valuable away goal to take back for the second leg, but it was his red card and Luis Suarez’s subsequent brace that will be the story in Barcelona’s 2-1 victory over their La Liga rivals in their 1st leg Champions League quarterfinal matchup.

Atletico had to feel good about their start as they kept Barcelona from getting into a rhythm. Barca’s passing wasn’t as sharp as usual, and Atletico Madrid was frequently getting into passing lanes to break up play. It was the kind of performance that must have made Diego Simeone happy, as his team came in to try to make life difficult for the defending champions.

Atletico’s strong start was rewarded 25 minutes into the game as Fernando Torres snuck in between two Barcelona defenders and went five-hole on Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The goal gave Atletico a crucial away goal and gave Simeone an excuse to try  to sit deep and continue to disrupt Barcelona’s attack. It was a perfect start for the visitors.

Their joy was short-lived, however. Torres who might have been a little too excited quickly picked up two yellow cards within 10 minutes of scoring his goal. His red card made in even more obvious that Madrid would spend the vast majority of the match defending. But if any team is built to play with a lead a man down it was Atletico. The half finished with the Madrid side holding onto their one goal lead.

Unfortunately, for Madrid, when the second half began, Barcelona ratcheted up the pressure on the Atleti defense. Chance after chance, including a curling shot from Neymar that hit the woodwork, came for Barcelona before they were finally able to break through. It wasn’t a pretty goal, but Luis Suarez’s 45th goal in 45 games for Barcelona was enough breakdown Madrid’s back line.

Atletico Madrid still held the advantage with the away goal so Barcelona kept coming. Ten minutes after Suarez opened the scoring for the home side, he used his head to score his brace and put the team into the lead. Suarez lost his marker and a cross from Dani Alvez found the Uruguayan’s head who finished just inside the post.

The score stayed the same for the remaining 15 minutes and apart from calls for a penalty when Lionel Messi was taken down inside the box, the game finished with little incident. Barcelona will be happy with the come from behind win, but Atletico Madrid will be equally happy with the away goal and the knowledge that a grinding 1-0 win back at home will be enough to see them through.

Bayern Munich 1-0 Benfica

Things couldn’t have started any better for Bayern Munich in their Quarterfinal matchup with Portuguese side Benfica. Arturo Vidal headed home the opener after just two minutes, and it looked as like it would be a long night for the visitors. But Benfica recovered well and made life difficult for Bayern in their home ground. A tall task for even the best teams.

The first 15 minutes of the match were predominantly controlled by Bayern. Vidal’s far post header came from a perfect cross from Juan Bernat, who has improved his performance in recent weeks after a very shaky start to the season. Bayern kept coming, hardly giving Benfica a chance to breathe, but they were never able to break down the defense to double their lead.

From that point on the game was fairly even with Benfica troubling Bayern on a few occasions. If not for a few well-timed blocks and Manuel Neuer doing what he does, Benfica could very well have picked up a result at the Allianz Arena.

After half-time, it was more of the same, Bayern struggling to break down Benfica’s defense, and Benfica launching a few counter-attacks that forced Bayern’s shaky back-line into action. Benfica never managed to score, and that doesn’t bode well for their chances in the return leg, but Bayern didn’t look like title contenders too often either. However, the best chance of the second half came when Robert Lewandowski was played in behind the Benfica defense but inexplicably passed the ball off to Philipp Lahm who wasn’t able to do anything with the poor pass from the Polish striker.

Benfica will now head back home, knowing that keeping a clean sheet is almost a necessity. If Bayern scores in Lisbon it would force Benfica into needing at least 3 goals. As for Munich, their lack of clinical finishing is cause for concern, but a win or draw in the 2nd leg will be enough to get the job done.

About Harrison Prolic

Northern Illinois graduate with a degree in Journalism. Full-time page designer in Madison, Wisconsin. Part time follower of all things German soccer. I tweet about the Bundesliga and plenty of other sports @hprolic.