Barcelona are through to a fourth successive Copa del Rey final despite having both Sergio Roberto and Luis Suarez sent off.
The pair were both dismissed for second yellow cards, with Atletico Madrid’s Yannick Carrasco also seeing red in a stormy clash at Camp Nou that ended in a 1-1 draw, enough for the defending champions to progress through 3-2 on aggregate.
Where others approach with trepidation and caution, with an acceptance that they will be fortunate to get 30 per cent of possession, Atletico again threw caution to the damp Catalan air in the semi-final second leg. They had to.
Losing 2-1 from a first leg where Barca had dominated the first half and Atletico the second, the Madrid side needed to win at Camp Nou, something they have not managed since 2006 when Fernando Torres, 20, was their emerging striker.
Two minutes later, Antoine Griezmann headed a free-kick towards Stefan Savic who produced another save from Barca’s cup goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
The pressing, high defensive line, breaks and raids continued. Koke shot from distance after 15 minutes, Diego Godin headed on target a minute later and another defender, Felipe Luis also tried a shot from far out 19 minutes, while Torres and Griezmann continued to be a threat to the Barca backline.
Suarez nudged the ball to Messi and then ran ahead of him. Messi avoided the attention of four Atletico defenders and still managed to get in a shot from outside the area.
Moya pushed the ball into the path of Suarez, the Uruguayan waiting to pounce on the edge of the box and tap in the rebound for his 107th goal in only 127 Barca games.
Their hopes were raised when Barca’s Sergi Roberto was sent off on his 25th birthday for a second yellow card after a foul on Felipe Luis in the 58th minute. Coach Luis Enrique did not look impressed with Roberto, who will now miss the final.
Griezmann thought he had scored almost immediately afterwards but his effort was ruled offside.
Messi hit a free-kick against the bar after 71 minutes before Atletico were awarded a penalty three minutes later when Pique was adjudged to have fouled substitute Kevin Gameiro.
Gameiro stepped up and hit the ball over the bar. Simeone roared encouragement and his faith was vindicated eight minutes from time as Griezmann squared for Gamiero to equalise.
“I was laughing at the yellow card, it was what he wanted (the referee), we will see if the club can appeal,” Suarez said. If it is not successful he will miss the final.
They will find out who they will meet for the May 29 final on Wednesday night when Alaves and Celta Vigo meet in Vitoria.