Leipzig punishes lacklustre Spurs

Josip Ilicic.

Josip Ilicic.  

Ilicic nets four as Atalanta romps past Valencia

RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer scored two early goals as it eased past last year’s Champions League finalist Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in its last 16 second-leg tie on Tuesday to reach its first quarterfinals by 4-0 on aggregate.

Sabitzer fired the lively German side in front with a low shot from about 20 metres after 10 minutes and it never looked back, pinning the visitor, which was without injured strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, in its own half.

Leipzig’s captain was then given far too much space in the 21st to head home Angelino’s cross at the near post after Serge Aurier’s poor clearance as the Spurs’ players heads started to drop.

Emil Forsberg completed the victory with a third goal from inside the box in the 87th as Leipzig, which only got promoted to the Bundesliga in 2016, reached its first quarterfinal in Europe’s premier club competition.

Stunning display

Atalanta’s Josip Ilicic scored four goals in a stunning individual display to lead it to a 4-3 Champions League last-16, second-leg win over Valencia, that completed an 8-4 aggregate victory, at an empty Mestalla.

Playing in the Champions League for the first time this season, Atalanta’s European adventure continued in emphatic fashion as Slovenian Ilicic netted twice in each half to guide his side comfortably into the quarterfinals.

Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby conceded two penalties in the first half, both converted by Ilicic, either side of Kevin Gameiro’s equaliser.

Gameiro headed home a second and Ferran Torres put Valencia ahead on the night but Slovenian playmaker Ilicic completed his hat-trick and then curled in a sumptuous fourth as his team reached the quarterfinals.

Valencia started badly, with the hapless Diakhaby bringing down Ilicic inside the second minute and the Slovenian converted from the penalty spot to give the visitor a dream start.

Gameiro pounced on a loose ball and slotted home to level but Gian Piero Gasperinis Serie A side could not be repressed.

The Italians went back ahead two minutes before the break after Diakhaby handled in the area to concede another penalty, dispatched by Ilicic.

Remo Freuler crashed an effort against the crossbar for Atalanta but Gameiro headed home Torres’s cross to level on the night after 51 minutes. Electric winger Torres, recently linked with Barcelona by Spanish media, lobbed home to give the host some hope, but the sublime Ilicic wrapped up the tie with two classy finishes.

The results (last-16, second-leg): RB Leipzig 3 (Sabitzer 10, 21, Forsberg 87) bt Tottenham Hotspur 0 (Leipzig won 4-0 on aggregate); Valencia 3 (Gameiro 21, 51, Ferran Torres 67) lost to Atalanta 4 (Ilicic 3-pen, 43-pen, 71, 82). (Atalanta won 8-4 on aggregate).

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:12:23 PM |

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