Atlético Madrid have matched their result from their first meeting with Barcelona this season, though Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Camp Nou will do more for them than the 0-0 at Vicente Calderon in La Liga. Atléti will be favorites in the tie heading home, thanks to their away goal.
Barcelona looked extremely shaky to start the match, regularly gifting possession to Atléti in the early going. Jose Manuel Pinto committed the worst of their turnovers in the 5th minute, passing directly to an opposing midfielder. That eventually resulted in David Villa getting an open look from 12 yards, but he hit his shot just wide.
Both teams suffered massive injuries in the first half, with Barca losing a player at their thinnest position and Atléti losing arguably their biggest star. Gerard Piqué had to come off in the 12th minute -- to be replaced by Marc Bartra -- after landing awkwardly following a challenge by Diego Costa, but Costa wouldn't finish the half unscathed. He pulled up lame with a hamstring injury in the 28th minute and was replaced by Diego.
That forced substitution turned out to be a blessing for Atléti in the 56th minute, when Diego hit one of the best goals of the season from just over 25 yards out. It came from an odd angle and wasn't exactly a high-percentage shot, but he hit it with incredible power and bend, curling it over the hand of Pinto and into the top corner at the near post to give his team a surprise lead.
Gerardo Martino put on Alexis Sanchez for Cesc Fabregas in the 68th minute, shifting Neymar to the left flank and Andres Iniesta into the center of midfield. That change paid dividends just three minutes later when Iniesta set up Neymar for the equalizer with a brilliant through ball, picking out a great run from Neymar from the left flank into the center of the box.
Atlético Madrid decided to defend deep and play for the draw after that, and they struggled to get it. Barcelona were dominant in the closing 20 minutes, with their best chance coming off a free kick by Lionel Messi in the 86th minute that Thibaut Courtois was able to tip wide. Ultimately, Atleti were able to hold on and they get to take a great result back to Madrid.
Barcelona: Pinto, Alba, Mascherano, Pique (Bartra 12'), Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc (Sanchez 68'), Iniesta, Messi, Neymar
Goals: Neymar (71')
Atlético Madrid: Courtois, Felipe, Godin, Miranda, Juanfran, Koke, Tiago, Gabi, Turan (Rodriguez 77'), Costa (Diego 28'), Villa (Sosa 70')
Goals: Diego (58')