Atletico Madrid 2-3 Barcelona: 3 things we learned

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Right from the very first moment when Atletico Madrid and Barcelona walked out from the tunnel into the cauldron that was the Vicente Calderon, you sensed that we would bear witness to an epic cup tie. And so it proved.

It was the game that had everything from start to finish.

For the third time in a month, Barcelona emerged victorious over an opponent that they'd failed to beat in six attempts during 2014. Quite the turnaround.

Three things we learned

The Rojiblancos can look forward to a couple of free weeks now whilst Barca will do battle with either Villarreal or Getafe for a place in the Copa del Rey Final.

Let's take a look at three things we learned from the game.

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Unplayable Neymar

On this form there's hardly anyone to rival the young Brazilian.

Ever since he hit the ground running after a disappointing World Cup campaign, he's never looked back. The two goals he scored tonight including a superbly taken first, will be amongst the most important he's scored all season.

The brace takes him over the 20 goal mark in all competitions and he is proving every bit the foil Barca needed to take goalscoring duties from Lionel Messi.

His intelligence in-play has increased immeasurably from the player of 12 months ago and the way he is dovetailing with both Messi and Luis Suarez is a joy to behold.

In both goals and assist terms, Neymar has delivered and he was the difference again tonight.

Godin/Koke sorely missed

For a game of such magnitude, you need your best exponents available.

Diego Godin has been immense for Atleti over the last 2 years and the best defender in Europe at the moment was always going to be a big miss for the home side.

Once Fernando Torres had given the home side a magnificent lead in the opening minute, some solidity was required, which would no doubt have been provided with the Uruguayan in situ.

The second goal, from a corner, would never have reached it destination with the commanding Godin in attendance too.

Koke's loss to the midfield was fatal to their chances too, the midfield lacking energy and purpose throughout.

Barca's third goal knocked the stuffing completely out of Atleti and their midfield was completely dominated after half time.

Barca approaching their best form

The Catalans were a team supposedly in crisis.

Messi wanted out allegedly, Luis Enrique wasn't respected by the players etc etc.

Yet all of the trash talking has finally been put to bed by a stunning run of form.

Since the defeat to David Moyes' Real Sociedad side at the turn of the year, Barca have won all seven games played, scoring 26 and conceding just five.

Indeed, the defeat at the Anoeta is the only loss in 19, 17 of which have been won with one draw.

Some crisis!

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La Liga
Lionel Messi
Fernando Torres
Luis Suarez

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