Copa del Rey: Enrique leads Barca to 3rd consecutive finals
Copa Del Rey By: Ambrose Udeme | 07/02/2017
Barcelona with nine men made it three finals in three Copa del Rey attempts under Luis Enrique on Tuesday despite a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid who were also reduced to ten men at Camp Nou.Luis Suarez's first half strike handed Barcelona a 3-1 aggregate lead at half time following last week's 2-1 first leg win at the Vincente Calderon stadium but a late rally by the visitors through Kevin Gameiro with Antoine Griezmann providing the assist accounted for a mere consolation as Barcelona won 3-2 on aggregate.Arda Turan replaced the suspended Neymar for Barcelona against an attack-minded Atletico who were similarly without captain Gabi Fernandez whose place was taken by Yannick Carrasco. Neymar and Gabi both picked up yellow-card bans at the Vicente Calderon last week.Five other changes for Barca saw first-team trio Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez back in the Catalans' line-up.Atleti, on the other hand, went with a supercharged 4-4-2 formation with Juanfran Torres returning to right-back, Carrasco in front of him and Nico Gaitan occupying the opposite wing.Barca went into Tuesday's clash with a 2-1 first leg lead and were looking to make it three straight finals in the Cup game under Luis Enrique.First HalfAndre Gomes conceded an early free kick only a few yards away from the Barca box, but Nico Gaitan's delivery was interrupted by the referee. Moments after Luis Suarez saw his low drive pushed away by Miguel Moya, Atletico broke away down the middle, found Carrasco on the right who after cutting inside had just Jasper Cillessen to beat, but his curling finish was straight at the goalkeeper.Diego Simeone committed almost everyone forward as they desperately went in search of an early goal to unsettle Barca whose fans are already making their frustrations heard.Antoine Griezmann looked to break into the box down the right as space suddenly appeared for the Frenchman, but out of nowhere came Jordi Alba with an important interception.Messi's free role left Sergi Roberto totally exposed down the right, with the Atletico attackers taking it in turns to raise hell for the full-back who picked up the first yellow of the evening after chopping down Fernando Torres from behind. Messi then tried to do it all on his own in the left-centre area of the final third, but his low shot was easy for Moya.Torres was clearly held back by Sergi in the box from a free kick after the striker was fouled in the air by Gerard Pique, but the referee waved play on to the dismay of the visitors.After a relentless opening half-hour from Atletico, Messi and his troops began to show signs of growing into the game as Gomes turned the entire Rojiblancos midfield, before Suarez's layoff for Messi was charged down for a corner.