Fernando Torres gives Atletico Madrid the lead and then gets sent off against Barcelona

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Fernando Torres dominated the first half of the Champions League quarter-final clash between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

The striker put the away side 1-0 after 25 minutes with a tidy finish but was sent off for two yellow cards just ten minutes later.

His sending-off appeared to have a critical effect on the match. Atleti looked comfortable with 11 men and a 1-0 lead but they eventually buckled under Barcelona's pressure, losing 2-1.


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Before the match, all the attention was on Barcelona following their surprise El Clasico defeat on Saturday. 

They were given the ideal opportunity to bounce back just three days following the defeat to Real Madrid with the first-leg of their quarter-final clash against Atletico Madrid.

An early goal would have helped settle the nerves of Luis Enrique’s side but they couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Atleti side in the opening 20 minutes.

The away side started to look more comfortable and took the lead after 25 minutes - scroll down to watch the video.

Koke split the Barca defence open with a brilliant pass and Fernando Torres rolled back the years with a tidy finish through the legs of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

But the 32-year-old quickly turned from hero to villain.

He was booked in the 29th minute before receiving a second yellow card six minutes later. Both fouls were needless trips and you could argue whether they deserved to warrant a red card.

He was shown his first card for a trip on Neymar and his second was brandished for a foul on Sergio Busquets on the halfway line.

It was daft behaviour from Torres but, in truth, they were two fouls that were never going to hurt the opponent.

Despite Atleti having to play the final 10 minutes of the opening 45 minutes with 10 men, they held onto their 1-0 lead.

Their game plan didn't change too much, defend and hope to limit Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

But playing with 10 men against Barcelona on the huge Nou Camp pitch was always going to be a real struggle.

After a fairly lacklustre first 45 minutes from Luis Enrique's side, they came out firing on all cylinders in the second-half. They piled the pressure on Jan Oblak's goal and it seemed only a matter of time before they equalised.

In fact, it took longer than expected with the Catalan club not finding a breakthrough until the 63rd minute.

While the first-half belonged to one former Liverpool striker - Torres, the second belonged to another - Suarez.

He converted Jordi Alba's mis-kick to bring the scores level and scored his 45th goals in as many games 11 minutes later with a terrific header from Dani Alves's cross.

It leaves the tie finely poised heading into next week's second-leg, but Diego Simeone is likely to be furious with Torres after his stupidity cost his team.

Who do you think will progress to the semi-finals? Barcelona or Atletico Madrid? Let us know in the comments box below!

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UEFA Champions League
Fernando Torres
Lionel Messi

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