Barca-slaying leaves Atleti set for Champions League victory

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When you achieve something for the first time in 40 years delirium can set in and all sight of the end goal can be lost in the sea of people that have invaded the pitch.

Luckily for Atletico Madrid, who knocked out Barcelona in the Champions League to end their long absence from the last four of European football’s elite competition, there is an intriguing stat which now applies to them that should help bring their goals back in to focus.

After Koke’s fifth-minute goal landed Diego Simeone’s side a 1-0 win and 2-1 aggregate triumph over the mighty Blaugrana, their odds to win the entire competition fell to 9/2. That’s a price that should be lumped on too given the recent record of Barca-topplers.

The last four teams that have knocked the Nou Camp giants out of the Champions League have gone on to claim victory in the tournament later on in the year.

The 2008 Man United vintage started the streak when claiming a 1-0 aggregate victory over the Blaugrana, who will not feature in the competition’s semi finals for the first time since 2007, before besting Chelsea in the famous Moscow penalty shootout.

Two years later Jose Mourinho, who is 5/1 to win this year’s version with Chelsea, took great pleasure in knocking his rivals, then managed by Pep Guardiola, out at the semi-final stage with Inter Milan.

Chelsea were the next benefactors of slaying Barcelona’s Champions League dreams, as they ended the Spanish side’s involvement on the way to claiming an unlikely victory over Bayern Munich in 2012.

The German side, who are the competition’s 7/5 favourites, then cashed in on Barca’s absence when humiliating them last season before bettering Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

Atletico are treading new territory though in ending the Barca campaign before the semi-final stage but with such historical momentum behind them can’t be sniffed at as a betting option to win it all.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.