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 UEFA 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 Nou Camp 56 minutes in with a powerful shot from about 25 yards 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 tying goal 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.
“I think the series is still even,” Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said. “I know if we can play like this again we have a great chance of getting through to the semifinals.”
Atletico, which leads Barcelona by a single point in the Spanish league, leaves with a valuable away goal before the return on April 9.
For the fourth time this season, neither team emerged victorious but Atletico returns to the Vicente Calderon buoyed by its performance after having lost its top player to a hamstring injury that could sideline him from the second leg. Pique has already been ruled out.
“This is a team of men, who play with heart and pride, who never give up,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “I’m happy because we can compete with them. I’m very happy because we are in this.”