Neymar

The two first quarterfinals of the 2013-14 Champions League season ended in draws, as both matches, the one between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and the one between Manchester United and Bayern Munich ended with a 1-1 tie, leaving everything completely open for the second leg.

Manchester United were considered the team as least likely to put up a fight out of the four clashes, but a fantastic defensive and disciplined display almost got them a shocking win over a team that has seemed close to invincible all season long.

Bayern Munich pressed and had possession for the entire first half, but the dangerous opportunities were created on desperate clearances by Manchester United, although Danny Welbeck couldn’t find his scoring touch. In the beginning of the second half it was a different Red Devils team – aggressive and taking initiative for once, which earned them a goal off a corner with Nemanja Vidic in a fantastic performance, probably his best this season, scoring the opening goal.

Manchester United didn’t do much afterwards, and neither did Bayern, who kept on pressing but not getting anything from it. Putting Mario Mandzukic onto the field might have been what saved Guardiola from defeat, as the Croatian striker laid down a ball for Bastian Schweinsteiger to score coming as the trailer. Schweinsteiger himself was sent off with a second yellow card minutes before the final whistle.

In Barcelona, it was one team only looking for a draw (Atletico, surprise surprise) that almost ran away with a win thanks to a shocking strike from Diego, coming on for Diego Costa whose injury limited him and forced him out very early on.

The Brazilian hit a ball from more than 25 meters out that stunned Pinto, who was already playing with a patched up defense after Gerard Pique left earlier in the match after landing badly on his back.

But while Lionel Messi was struggling under the fantastic Atletico Madrid pressure, it was Andres Iniesta and Neymar that saved Barcelona from a loss that might have been too much for them to overcome. A genius pass from the midfielder found Neymar who finally broke away from his marker to score calmly in front of Courtois. Barcelona kept on pressing in the final 20 minutes, with Courtois forced to make two saves off of long range shots from Iniesta and Messi, but Atletico left the Camp Nou with the result and the away goal they were looking for.

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