14 Apr 2016

Barcelona out of Champions League

11:19 am on 14 April 2016

Barcelona are in a slump after exiting the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid, their coach Luis Enrique said.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Last season's treble winners were firm favourites to become the first team to retain the trophy and travelled to the Spanish capital with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, but they were outwitted and outfought by Diego Simeone's side in a 2-0 loss.

Barca set a new Spanish record of 39 games without defeat in all competitions this season, producing some of their best football under Luis Enrique to thrash Valencia 7-0 in a King's Cup semi-final and hammer Celta Vigo 6-1 in February.

A 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid this month, however, sent them into a downward spiral and they have lost three of their last four games in all competitions.

"It's evident that we are in a hole, we aren't at our best at the moment nor our most effective, especially if we take into account other moments of the season," Luis Enrique told reporters.

"There's still a lot left of the season and important things to play for. The thought of winning the Champions League again excited all Barca fans but it wasn't to be. The team are sad."

Barca are still top of La Liga, three points clear of nearest challengers Atletico and with a better head-to-head record, and they will play Sevilla in the King's Cup final.

Meanwhile Bayern Munich booked their fifth successive Champions League semi-final spot with a 2-2 draw at Benfica to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory that kept the Germans on course for a treble of titles.

Arturo Vidal's 38th-minute goal cancelled out the hosts' early lead through Raul Jimenez's header and Thomas Mueller's volley early in the second half eased their nerves.

The Portuguese side, vying for their first semi-final in more than a quarter of a century, managed a late equaliser through Talisca but still suffered their fourth elimination in their fourth European tie against Bayern.

The Bavarians will face Real Madrid, city rivals Atletico or England's Manchester City in the last four.