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CL: Atletico Stuns Barca As Bayern Go Through To Semis

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Holders Barcelona have crashed out of the Uefa Champions League at the expense of bitter rivals, Atletico Madrid, for the second time in three seasons.

Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Diego Simeone’s side stunned the defending Champions 2-0 on the night and 3-2 aggregate in their Uefa Champions League quarter-final match.

After returning from the Nou Camp with a 2-1 first-leg deficit last week, Griezmann headed home in the 36th minute and then struck a late penalty to take his side into the Semi-finals.

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“I am not left with just a place in the semi-finals, I think it is much more important than that,” said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.

“This group displays values that are less and less common in society. We can win or lose, but we believe in these values that are important in life and once again we have won a tremendously difficult game.

“I said to the players: you have great values as individuals and as a group. We never stopped believing.”

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As for Barcelona, the Defeat is their third in four games after a 39-match unbeaten run stretching back six months and sees their quest to become the first side to retain the trophy in the Champions League era come to an end. For only the second time in eight years they have failed to reach the semi-finals.

There will be much to pick over after referee Nicola Rizzoli, judged that a handball from Gabi in the 91st minute had occurred outside the area, not in it. The penalty would have sent the game to extra time.

Messi struck the free-kick over the crossbar, dashing his side’s chance of taking the game into another 30-minutes and Atletico went through.

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Since April 2014, Lionel Messi did not record a short on target in a Uefa Champions League tie.

“I am 99.9% to blame . . . no, 100%,” Barca coach Luis Enrique said.

“The team wanted to retain the title, it was one of our objectives and excited every Barca fan, but it isn’t to be.

“We are finding it much more difficult than normal to score goals and suffering defensively too.

“We all have to improve and I’m the first one in that regard.”

Atletico will be joined in Friday’s semi-final draw by Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich – who played out a 2-2 draw against Benfica to advance to the last four with a 3-2 aggregate.

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