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Sports

Champions League: Bayer Leverkusen soundly beaten by ruthless Atletico Madrid

Four different players scored for Atletico Madrid, who produced a brilliant display of attacking football against Bayer Leverkusen. Roger Schmidt's side are left staring at a last 16 exit in the Champions League.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Atletico Madrid
(Bellarabi 48', Savic og 68' - Niguez 17', Griezmann 25', Gameiro 59', Torres 86')

Bayer Leverkusen’s Champions League hopes hang by a thread after Atletico Madrid dismantled them with a ruthless attacking performance at the Bay Arena.

The task was never going to be easy for a Leverkusen side who have rediscovered their domestic form of late, but were faced with a different caliber of opposition in Diego Simeone’s side. Last season's beaten finalists Atletico are known for their robust defence but it was their attack that impressed on a night when they purred in front of goal.

Leverkusen failed to heed an early warning when Felipe Luis’s dangerous cross was steered against his own crossbar by Wendell. A few minutes later Atletico were ahead. Saul Niguez skipped past the over eager Kevin Kampl and cut onto his left foot to bend a brilliant shot inside the far post to open the scoring.

Eight minutes later Atletico had their second. A pathetic attempt to clear by the woeful Aleksandar Dragovic was seized on by the impressive Kevin Gameiro who drove forward and held the ball up superbly to tee up Antoine Griezmann, who didn’t break stride as he lashed an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar.

Fußball Champions-League Bayer Leverkusen - Atletico Madrid (Getty Images/Bongarts/M. Hitij)

Leverkusen were second best for long periods against a clinical Atletico, who have four away goals

Leverkusen were rattled but came out strongly at the start of the second half and were rewarded when Karim Bellarabi finished crisply into the bottom corner from Benjamin Henrichs's cross.

That lifted the home fans, who were without some of their ultras who boycotted the game after a row with the club, but their optimism was short-lived.

Atletico re-established their two-goal advantage from the penalty spot, with Gameiro lashing it down the middle after Yannick Carrasco was fouled, although it was unclear whether Dragovic’s tug was in or outside the box.

A fortuitous own goal by Stefan Savic gave Leverkusen renewed hope, but Fernando Torres came off the bench and took advantage of statuesque Leverkusen defending to nod in a fourth and ensure a convincing win for Simeone’s side, who are now heavy favourites to reach the quarter finals for the fourth successive season.

Champions League - as it happened: