Atletico Madrid claimed a commanding lead in the first match of their knockout stages encounter against Bayer Leverkusen by winning 4-2 at the BayArena.
The La Liga giants were able to assume the lead little more than quarter of an hour into the game, after Saul Niguez cut inside from the right and curled in Atletico’s first following a counter.
Although denied twice by Bayer keeper Bernd Leno later on, Antoine Griezmann doubled the score from a separate counter, and it was not until after the second half that Bayer mustered a response, twice between two more Atletico goals in the second half.
With a smooth team move culminating in Karim Bellarabi’s goal, Kevin Gameiro scored with a spot‑kick, only for Stefan Savic’s own goal to cut down the deficit again.
But it was evergreen striker Fernando Torres, coming in for Yannick Carrasco, who would end the contest for now with a late header.
As the return leg looms ominously for Leverkusen at the Vicente Calderon two weeks later, Los Rojiblancos holds the better chance for extending their European campaign into the quarter-finals, as they had for the last three seasons.
If Leverkusen were to somehow stop Atletico’s towering superiority, they need a performance far better than this match and also stop the likes of Griezmann once more, who has now became the top scoring player for Atletico in European tournaments with 13 goals, overtaking previous club record holder Luis Aragones’s 12.