First-half strikes from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez secured the victory that puts the holders in control of the semi-final ahead of the return match at Camp Nou next Tuesday.

Diego Simeone’s side have had success against Barca in recent years with a devastating counterattacking style, but they were on the receiving end of the same tactic early in the first half and were punished by a brilliant run and finish from Suarez with only seven minutes played.

Messi made it 2-0 with a ferocious strike from the edge of the penalty area to silence the Calderon and leave Atletico facing a mountain to climb.

The 2013 winners did show some improvement after the break, however, and Antoine Griezmann halved the deficit just shy the hour mark before missing a clear chance to level the scores moments later.

But Barca – who almost snatched a third through a Messi free-kick – held firm in the closing stages to see out a crucial win that will make them firm favourites to reach a fourth final in as many seasons.


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