Koke’s goal sends Barca crashing; Rooney’s lapse costs Man United dear
: Atletico Madrid tamed Lionel Messi and Neymar to eliminate La Liga rival Barcelona from the Champions League after Koke’s early goal secured a shock 2-1 aggregate success at the Calderon on Wednesday.
After last week’s quarterfinal, first-leg in Barcelona ended 1-1, Atletico’s stunning 1-0 victory at an electric Calderon stadium was the latest twist in a fairytale season for Madrid’s second club and its inspirational coach and former player Diego Simeone.
Simeone’s fired-up troops blew Barca away in the opening 20 minutes and after midfielder Koke volleyed in from close range in the fifth minute former Barca forward David Villa twice rattled the crossbar.
After surviving the early barrage, Barca showed more intensity and had its chances in the second half as the home side wilted.
But with Simeone willing it on from his technical area and whipping up the delirious fans in the stands, Atletico held out to deny Barca a record-extending seventh consecutive appearance in the last four and claim a berth in the last four of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in 40 years.
Barca whose talisman Lionel Messi barely featured on a stage where he has so often excelled, was left wondering how it failed to turn it second-half dominance into at least the one goal that would have taken the game to extra time.
Having already lost playmaker Arda Turan to a groin problem, there was more bad news for Atletico before kick-off when top scorer Diego Costa, who strained a thigh muscle in the first-leg, failed to make the squad.
Barca seemed to be settling into its usual dominant rhythm in the opening minutes on a warm night in the Spanish capital but was rocked back when Costa’s replacement Adrian burst clear in the fifth minute in a typical Atletico counter-attack.
His initial shot cannoned off the crossbar and when Villa clipped the ball back into the middle he nodded it across goal for Koke to volley in at the far post.
A schoolboy lapse in concentration and a bad miss by Wayne Rooney wrecked Manchester United’s hopes of causing a huge Champions League upset against holder Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday.
When United went ahead in the quarterfinal second leg with a spectacular Patrice Evra strike after 57 minutes it seemed an improbable victory was possible but it seemed to be still celebrating when Mario Mandzukic headed the equaliser 22 seconds after the re-start.
Even then Rooney missed a gilt-edged chance but there was no way back after that as Bayern eased away to a 3-1 win with Thomas Muller and the influential Arjen Robben both on target for the host which was never totally convincing.
Bayern’s 4-2 aggregate win kept it on course for a second successive treble and all but put an end to Manchester United’s miserable first season under David Moyes.
United is extremely unlikely to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season and winning the Champions League represented its only realistic hope of qualifying for next season’s competition. “I thought the players did a great job tonight, the only crime was conceding a goal after we scored, 30 seconds afterwards,” Moyes, who has experienced a difficult time at Old Trafford since succeeding Alex Ferguson, told reporters. Missing the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez in midfielder, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola fielded Toni Kroos, usually a creative player, as a holding midfielder.
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.
The visitor went ahead in remarkable fashion when Antonio Valencia burst down the right and, although his cross went behind United’s forwards, the lurking Evra lashed home a net-bursting effort from the edge of the area on the half-volley.
United had also taken the lead in the first leg, holding it for nine minutes, but this time it could not even keep its noses in front for a minute as Mandzukic got in front of Evra to score with a diving header after a Ribery cross from the left.
Muller put Bayern in front when he turned in another Robben cross from close range.
Robben then ensured there would be no nervous finale for Bayern when he collected a ball on the right and danced his way across the edge of the penalty area past two defenders before squeezing in a shot which took a deflection off Nemanja Vidic.
The results: Quarterfinals: Second leg: Atletico Madrid 1 (Koke 5) bt Barcelona 0 (Atletico qualified 2-1 on aggregate).
Bayern Munich 3 (Mandzukic 59, Muller 68, Robben 76) bt Manchester United 1 (Evra 57) (Bayern qualified 4-2 on aggregate).