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Clinical Atlético leave Leverkusen lagging

Published: Tuesday 21 February 2017, 22.45CET
Saúl Ñíguez and Antoine Griezmann scored in the first half and Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres in the second as Atlético Madrid earned a 4-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen.
Clinical Atlético leave Leverkusen lagging
Antoine Griezmann after scoring Atlético's second goal ©Getty Images

Match statistics

LeverkusenAtlético

Goals scored2
 
4
Possession (%)59
 
41
Total attempts14
 
10
on target3
 
7
off target3
 
2
blocked8
 
1
against woodwork0
1
Corners6
 
4
Offsides1
 
4
Yellow cards4
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed14
 
9
Fouls suffered9
 
14
Passes550
 
326
completed439
 
229

Standings

 
Published: Tuesday 21 February 2017, 22.45CET

Clinical Atlético leave Leverkusen lagging

Saúl Ñíguez and Antoine Griezmann scored in the first half and Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres in the second as Atlético Madrid earned a 4-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen.

First-half goals by Saúl Ñíguez and Antoine Griezmann were followed after the break by strikes from Kevin Gameiro and substitute Fernando Torres as Atlético Madrid produced a clinical counterattacking display at Bayer Leverkusen.

Beaten 1-0 in Leverkusen in their last 16 first leg two seasons ago – eventually winning the tie on penalties – Atlético showed early signs of their cutting edge when Griezmann was denied by Bernd Leno and, from the follow-up play, Filip Luís's cross was sliced against his own crossbar by Wendell.

Seventeen minutes in, another quick Atlético counter did bring reward. Saúl skipped away down the right and cut inside to bend a beautiful shot inside Leno's top corner with his left foot.

One-nil swiftly became two as Aleksandar Dragović's sliced clearance found only Gameiro, who drew the defenders before setting up Griezmann for an emphatic finish. The scorer then almost beat Leno again, the goalkeeper half-blocking with his arm and the ball spinning fractionally over.

Having struggled to make an attacking impression in the first half, Leverkusen were swiftly into their stride after the interval, Julian Brandt's fine pass picking out Benjamin Henrichs on the right and Karim Bellarabi supplying a fine first-time finish at the near post.

Atlético nearly restored their two-goal cushion instantly, Gameiro's effort clipping the outside of the post, before the Frenchman was hauled down by Dragović and smashed in the resulting penalty to make it 3-1.

Again Leverkusen found a way back as Brandt slid in a low cross from the left and goalkeeper Miguel Ángel Moyà pushed the ball against Stefan Savić and back into the net. With the home side revived, only a well-placed Luís on the line prevented Javier Hernández levelling.

Instead, it was Atlético who applied the killer touch. Šime Vrsaljko capitalised on a sharp throw-in down the right to deliver a pinpoint cross that Torres expertly headed across goal and inside the far post.

Key player: Kevin Gameiro (Atlético)
After scoring the second-fastest Liga hat-trick in history from the bench on Saturday, the Frenchman was given a starting berth and proved a thorn in the Leverkusen defence throughout with his speed and directness. He showed wonderful vision to tee up Griezmann for his goal, and deft skill to win and convert the penalty in a fine all-round display.

Teenager Havertz makes his bow
One of the few positives to emerge from a disappointing night for Die Werkself was the sight of Kai Havertz making his full UEFA Champions League debut aged just 17. The Aachen-born youngster, who enjoyed cameo appearances against Tottenham and CSKA Moskva in the group stage, has been compared favourably to Mesut Özil and, although his evening lasted just 55 minutes, it is clear the teenager has a bright future.

Simeone's attacking plan works
Simeone named an uncharacteristically attacking XI, but knew exactly what he was doing. Leverkusen played on the front foot with a high defensive line and Atlético were set up to transition the ball quickly and get in behind the hosts' defence in a wonderful first-half display. The speedy duo of Gameiro and Griezmann ran amok in the space they were afforded and the game plan worked to perfection going forward.

Reporters' views
Matthew Howarth (@UEFAcomMattH)
Not since 2001/02 have Leverkusen progressed beyond the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, and their hopes of reaching the last eight this season are dangling by the thinnest of threads after shipping four away goals. The visitors were a joy to watch at times, but having been so solid defensively for the majority of the group stage, Roger Schmidt will be extremely disappointed with his team's defending.

Joe Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW)
The pre-match view was that, with so many injuries, a result keeping the Rojiblancos still in the tie for the second leg would be sufficient. Atlético, though, had other ideas and put on an exhibition of counterattacking football. Four away goals is more than they could have hoped for, ensuring a comfortable advantage heading back to the Vicente Calderón.

©Getty Images

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Last updated: 10/04/17 15.33CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2017/matches/round=2000784/match=2019620/postmatch/report/index.html#atletico+leverkusen

Lineups

leverkusen

Leverkusen

atlético

Atlético

1
LenoBernd Leno (GK)
1
MoyàMiguel Ángel Moyà (GK)
6
DragovićAleksandar Dragović
Yellow Card58
3
Filipe LuísFilipe Luís
Yellow Card90
7
HernándezJavier Hernández
6
KokeKoke
18
WendellWendell
Yellow Card64
7
GriezmannAntoine Griezmann
Goal25
Substitution78
19
BrandtJulian Brandt
Substitution87
8
Saúl ÑíguezSaúl Ñíguez
Goal17
20
AránguizCharles Aránguiz
Yellow Card74
10
CarrascoYannick Carrasco
Substitution78
21
Ömer ToprakÖmer Toprak (C)
14
GabiGabi (C)
Yellow Card89
29
HavertzKai Havertz
Substitution56
15
SavićStefan Savić
Goal68
38
BellarabiKarim Bellarabi
Goal48
Substitution66
16
VrsaljkoŠime Vrsaljko
39
HenrichsBenjamin Henrichs
Yellow Card15
21
GameiroKevin Gameiro
Goal59
Substitution71
44
KamplKevin Kampl
24
GiménezJosé María Giménez

Substitutes

28
ÖzcanRamazan Özcan (GK)
13
OblakJan Oblak (GK)
9
BaileyLeon Bailey
Substitution87
9
TorresFernando Torres
Substitution78
Goal86
Yellow Card88
14
MehmediAdmir Mehmedi
11
CorreaÁngel Correa
Substitution78
15
BaumgartlingerJulian Baumgartlinger
19
LucasLucas Hernández
16
JedvajTin Jedvaj
22
ParteyThomas Partey
Substitution71
17
PohjanpaloJoel Pohjanpalo
Substitution66
23
GaitánNicolás Gaitán
31
VollandKevin Volland
Substitution56
27
Caio HenriqueCaio Henrique

Coach

Roger Schmidt (GER) Diego Simeone (ARG)

Referee

William Collum (SCO)

Assistant referees

Francis Connor (SCO), David McGeachie (SCO)

Fourth official

Alan Mulvanny (SCO)

Additional assistant referees

Bobby Madden (SCO), John Beaton (SCO)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution