Atletico draw 1-1 at Barca in Champions League
April 3, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
BARCELONA, Spain -- An equalizer from Neymar saw Barcelona salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday after a stunning opener by Diego Ribas in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.
Atletico's chances were dealt a major blow half an hour in when striker Diego Costa came off injured, while Barcelona had lost defender Gerard Pique to injury before that.
But Diego Ribas, who replaced Costa, stunned the Camp Nou 56 minutes in with a powerful shot from about 25 meters that grazed the fingertips of goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto as it soared into the top corner.
With Lionel Messi kept quiet by Atletico's well-organized defense, Neymar stepped up to curl the equalizer around goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 71st.
Courtois made a number of acrobatic stops after that to preserve the draw, including in the 85th when he tipped Messi's free kick around the post.
“They played a good game and they made it very hard for us to create chances,” Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez said. “We have to try and score in the return — this was not a good result for us.”
Atletico, which leads Barcelona by a single point in the Spanish league, leaves with a valuable away goal before the return on April 9.