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Madrid media hail Atletico progress

The Madrid media revelled in the glory of a famous win on the morning after Atletico Madrid had beaten La Liga rivals Barcelona 1-0 to progress 2-1 on aggregate to the Champions League last four.

• Hunter: Atleti exultant as Barca compromise their style
• Delaney: From history to hysterics
• Tomas: Disappointing Barca crash out of Europe

The cover of AS featured Koke wildly celebrating his winning goal with teammate David Villa, with the headline "Totally Spent -- Courage and Heart: because they fight like brothers defending their colours."

Marca used the same photo with a headline of "Magnificent: a formidable lesson of faith and conviction from the Atletico fans."

Marca's front cover on April 10.
Marca's front cover on April 10.

In Catalonia, Mundo Deportivo focused on what was a flat performance from Barcelona, with its cover stating "Goodbye: Barca were not at the level required by Europe’s top competition."

Sport admitted that its side could have no excuses with a front page  which showed a disappointed Lionel Messi and read "Although it hurts to say it, Atletico were better" and "Barca fall before the Atletico whirlwind."

Inside the Madrid-based papers there were stirring words about a special night by the banks of the river Manzanares.

"An Atletico for eternity," was the headline on AS’ match report by Inako Diaz Guerra, who wrote that "There are moments which are worth a lifetime. This was one of those for Atleticos.

"Two legendary hours of commitment, of attitude, of intelligence, of talent, of football.. Of life… Atleti, without Diego Costa or Arda, rode right over the top of Barca … while I write, quite a while after the final whistle, the Manzanares seems prepared for the final to start now.

"Not one empty seat, the stands clamouring, alternating the club anthem with ovations for Luis Aragones. Scarves in the wind, happiness gone wild. It is emotional."

On radio show El Larguero, Kiko, a former teammate of Atletico coach Diego Simeone turned media pundit, also seemed to be fighting back the tears.

"I am so happy," Kiko said. "[Simeone], and the players of course, has given us quality of life. And we must enjoy it and take advantage of it. The way they work, it makes you happy to see your team, the emotion it has inside, the way it achieves things. Atletico Madrid has again shown that, above all, it is a team. This is one of the nights we will never forget."  

The mood inside the pages of Mundo Deportivo was more downbeat, with Roger Torello writing: "The history books will show that Martino’s Barcelona resigned en bloc in the 2014 quarterfinals. This time not tactical genius, not talent, not superstars. An anxious Barca, faded and, above all, unable. Not even Messi, on other occasions a professional at saving such situations, showed up."

El Pais' match report was headlined "Too much Atletico for an old Barca" and also pointed out how Barca -- who will not be in the semifinals for the first time in seven years -- and Atletico -- whose last last semifinal appearance was in 1974 -- were clearly heading in different directions.

"The Calderon was the scene of a crossroads: the team of today against the team of yesterday," wrote Jose Samano. "The vital football of Atletico, an outfit full of determination ready to get stuck in, against a Barca of reputations with a shrivelled look."

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