Lionel Messi scored the late winner as Barcelona defeatedAtletico Madrid 1-0 on Wednesday in the first leg of their Copadel Rey quarter-final.
Following a scoreless first half, Atletico seemed set to hold on for a creditable draw at the Nou Camp. But with seven minutes remaining, Sergio Busquets won a penalty that led to Barca‘s winner.Messi missed the spot-kick but slotted in the rebound in the 85th minute to give Barca a slim advantage heading into the second leg.
Barcelona, who secured their last-eight place with a 9-0 aggregate victory over Elche, started the Nou Camp clash with all-star triumvirate Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, but were thwarted for long periods by Diego Simeone’s Spanish league champions.
Those in the crowd were treated to a fiercely contested cup tie, with tackles flying, but despite the commitment the deadlock could not be broken until five minutes from time as Atletico, who knocked holders Real Madrid out in the previous round, defended resolutely.
Messi smashed a free-kick against the Atletico wall and, as the visitors attempted to clear, Sergio Busquets was fouled in the area and referee Jose Gonzalez pointed to the penalty spot.
Messi’s low spot-kick was parried away goalkeeper Jan Oblak, but the Slovenian could only watch helplessly as Barcelona’s talisman poked home the rebound.
The 85th-minute goal gives Barcelona a slender lead going into next Wednesday’s second-leg encounter at the Vicente Calderon stadium.