MADRID — Atletico Madrid got the better of Spanish rival Barcelona on Wednesday, as Koke’s early goal guided his team to a 1-0 win and into the UEFA Champions League semifinals with a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Adrian Lopez filled in for injured striker Diego Costa and created the fifth-minute opener after finding the post, as the Atletico forward headed an ensuing cross on to Koke to fire home.
The boisterous atmosphere at the Vicente Calderon Stadium unsettled Barcelona early on, and Atletico striker David Villa hit the woodwork twice within the opening 20 minutes.
Barcelona dug in but produced few tangible scoring chances apart from a pair of first-half misses by Lionel Messi.
Atletico, which leads Barcelona by one point in the Spanish league, reached the last four of Europe’s top competition for the first time since 1974. The teams had played four previous games this season which all ended in draws, but Atletico’s breakthrough kept Barcelona from the semifinals for the first time in seven seasons.