Atletico Madrid flavour of the month Fernando Torres has more fond memories of the Camp Nou than most visiting players, but couldn't add to that collection in a dreary Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg clash with Barcelona tonight.
Torres was handed another chance to shine in the competition by Atleti boss Diego Simeone, after marking his return to Spain in some style with a clinical brace against city rivals Real Madrid in the last round.
The love-in didn't continue though, with Torres working hard but offering little end product before being replaced by Atleti's top scorer Mario Mandzukic after just 45 minutes.
Slip summed up return to struggles
Torres is hoping for something of a reconnaissance in his favourite city, but in truth his display tonight was fare indicative of struggles at Chelsea and AC Milan rather than swashbuckling displays for Atletico and Liverpool.
Simeone recognised that leading the line at the Camp Nou was heavy going for the 30-year-old, particularly given Atletico's commitment to defend at all costs, one that killed the game as a spectacle and ultimately didn't pay off.
Late penalty drama
A sub-par encounter between two quality sides only had two real genuine moments of note, the first of which was a shocking miss from close range by another former Anfield hero in Luis Suarez.
More importantly in the context of the tie Barca made a late breakthrough courtesy of a controversial late penalty, after Sergi Busquets made the most of contact from Juanfran inside the area five minutes from time.
Atleti's luck wasn't in as the hosts broke the deadlock despite Lionel Messi missing the resulting penalty.
Messi aimed a tame spot kick down the middle for Jan Oblak to parry, but his stop only fell back to the Argentine maestro to rebound home and give Barca a slender advantage to take into next week's decisive second leg.
After that setback it promises to be very interesting to see if Simeone picks Torres to start at the Calderon next week, with Atleti's best chance of winning silverware again this season now in serious jeapordy.
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