Bayer Leverkusen took the upper hand in their last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid, a single second half goal giving them a 1-0 advantage ahead of the second leg in Madrid next week.

Hakan Calhanoglu struck brilliantly in the second half but the hosts were fortunate to escape with their lead in tact as Fernando Torres had a goal harshly disallowed.
The visitors were reduced to ten men with less than quarter of an hour remaining as Tiago received a second yellow for a clumsy and ill-judged challenge on Karim Bellarabi.
There were chances at either end in the first half, Emir Sahic rattling the Atletico crossbar with a thunderous 30-yard effort and Leno saving brilliantly from Tiago at the other end.
The deadlock was broken ten minutes into the second half and broken in style as Bellarabi stalled on the edge of the box before back-heeling it into the path of the onrushing Calhanoglu, who took a touch before thrashing a fierce shot past Miguel Angel Moya.
Twenty minutes later came the game's moment of controversy. A corner came over towards the near post, and squirmed through for Torres to head into the empty net at the back post, but the assistant referee on the goal-line judged that it went out of play before reaching the near post.
Replays suggested that the ball stayed in play and there were question marks over his ability to see past two goalposts to reliably deem the ball to be out.

13’ - Off the line! Leverkusen whip in a corner and it's a dangerous one, Moya failing to deal with it. The ball is clipped back in and diverted towards goal but Mandzukic, a striker, is on hand to thrash it off the line.
26’ - OFF THE BAR! Spahic unleashes an absolute thunderbolt from 30 yards out, which has Moya beaten all ends up but not the woodwork.
38’ - Chance for Atletico! A blocked shot finds its way to Turan inside the box and he tries to hook it over the keeper. It loops up and Griezmann readies himself underneath it, but Leno gets up higher to palm it away.
45’ - Penalty appeal waved away! Wendell bursts down the left and into the box. Juanfran lunges in and it looks like he takes him out. But no, it's an expert dive, Wendell throwing himself against the defender's leg. Great spot from the ref.
45+3’ - What a save! Ateltico almost take the lead! Tiago acrobatically fires off a low volley that is heading right for the bottom corner, but Leno gets down brilliantly and gets a hand to it. Tiago can't believe it. Fantasitc stop, and a potentially very important one.
56’ - GOAL! Leverkusen take the lead! Bellarabi stalls on the edge of the box before backheeling it into the path of the onrushing Calhanoglu, who gets the ball out of his feet before thrashing a fierce shot past Moya from a tight angle. Great goal. 1-0.
76’ - Goal disallowed! A corner comes in from Atletico and it's low towards the near post. It somehow squeezes through to the back post where Torres is on hand to nod into the empty net. But the assistant referee on the goal line reckons the ball had gone out of play from the corner before reaching Torres. Replays show it didn't. Torres looks bemused.
77’ - RED CARD FOR TIAGO! The Atletico midfielder is sent for an early shower after earning a second yellow card for a late one on Bellarabi. He doesn’t even get near the ball and doesn't have any complaints.

Bayer Leverkusen won for the first time after a losing streak of seven games in the Champions League knockout stages.
Atletico Madrid have now lost two of their last nine Champions League games in the knockout stages.
Bayer Leverkusen ended a Champions League goal draught of 263 minutes.
This was the first goal Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya has conceded in the Champions League.
Diego Simeone has won 13 of his 20 Champions League games as Atletico Madrid manager.

Fifth officials – just why? It’s always strange when European football returns to our screens and we see a third linesman standing awkwardly on the by-line beside the goal. Assistant referee? Fifth official? Whatever you want to call them, you always wonder of how much use they are. Well, on tonight’s evidence, not much. The official in question ruled out what looked like a perfectly good Torres goal. In fairness to him, he had a hard time seeing round two sets of posts, which begs the next question – why not have one on either side? In fact, why not line the whole of the pitch with these flag-happy interfering officials.

Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen). The back-heel for the goal was wonderful and besides that the midfield man was everywhere today. He was at the heart of Leverkusen’s ferocious pressing and equally pacy forays forward.

Bayer Leverkusen: Leno 8, Hilbert 6, K. Papadopoulos 6, Spahic 7, Wendell 6; Bender 6, Castro 7; Bellarabi 7; Calhanoglu 7, Son Heung-Min 6; Drmic 7. Subs: Rolfes 6, Kiessling 6, Brandt 6.
Atlético Madrid: Moyà 7, Juanfran 6, Miranda 6, Godín 7, Siqueira 6; Tiago 4, Gabi 6; Turan 6, Saúl Ñíguez 6, Griezmann 7; Mandzukic 6. Subs: Gámez 6, Raúl García 7, Torres 7.

No comments: