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Atletico Madrid's 'warriors' hailed after shattering Barcelona's dream - media

There was understandable celebration among the Atletico Madrid-backing media in the Spanish capital on Thursday morning after Diego Simeone's side qualified for the semifinals of the Champions League by beating Barcelona 2-0 on Wednesday night to advance 3-2 on aggregate.

In Catalonia, meanwhile, pundits and reporters were stunned as the wheels have come off a Barca campaign which seemed almost inevitably set for a repeat of last season's Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey Treble.

"In love with Atletico" said the front cover of AS, where the match report was entitled "what a way to win" -- a play on the words of Atletico's club hymn.

"Simeone and his 22 warriors. And the 55,000 in the stands of an old Calderon which has survived for nights like this, nights of comebacks, of scarves in the air and songs in the throats. Nights that only Atleti knows how to do. Nights to touch the sky with the tips of your fingers. A sacred team. Sacred coach. Sacred madness."

Marca: "A perfect game at a boiling Calderon. [Antoine] Griezmann, the star, seals their passage with a double."

Mundo Deportivo: "A disconnected Barca without conviction fall in the Calderon and now cannot repeat the treble. Simeone's men showed more intensity and motivation and Griezmann decided it with a header and a penalty."

Sport: "A shattered Barca crash up against Atletico and the referee. Now they must lift themselves up for the Double."

El Pais: "This Atletico is an epic Atletico, wherever they reach. They eliminated a European champion, as they took from Barca a Liga and Madrid a Copa del Rey. You just have to rewind to see where they were before Simeone stamped himself on them. In a way he is now to this club what Johan Cruyff was for Barca, when he turned around their history."

El Larguero radio show: "The most frustrating thing for Barca fans and their own players was that we did not see the real Barca today. They have gone from going 39 games unbeaten, to losing three in a row. We must stop asking what is wrong with Leo Messi and start asking what is wrong with Luis Enrique."

A Sport cover from last July, after Arda Turan had left Atletico to join Barcelona saying "I'm coming here to win the Champions League" was also much shared on social media:

Barcelona are next in action at home to Valencia on Sunday while Atletico host Granada.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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