Leipzig, Atalanta make history

BERLIN: RB Leipzig and Atalanta advanced to the quarterfinals of football’s Champions League for the first time with victories on Tuesday.
Marcel Sabitzer scored twice in the first half and substitute Emil Forsberg added a late third as Leipzig defeated Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 for a 4-0 aggregate win.
In Valencia, Josip Ilicic scored all four goals including two first-half penalties for Atalanta as the Italian Serie A side in their debut Champions League season won a 4-3 thriller behind closed doors at the Mestalla stadium for an 8-4 aggregate victory.
In Leipzig, the game went ahead before a capacity crowd in the RB Arena despite matches in Germany this week set to be played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus emergency. Timo Werner, whose penalty separated the two sides in London, was back in the starting line-up after a thigh problem, and found Sabitzer for the first goal.
Keeper Hugo Lloris got his hand to Sabitzer’s shot from the edge of the area but could not prevent the ball going in for Leipzig’s 10th-minute opener.
And the France keeper was again unfortunate when he got a hand to Sabitzer’s header for the second goal in the 21st minute but the ball crept in at the near post.
Forsberg came off the bench and scored after 26 seconds in the 87th minute, side-footing past Lloris to round off the scoring.
“It’s an evening for the (history) books,” Sabitzer told Sky television. “I’ll probably sleep badly tonight because I’ll have too much going through my head.”
Tottenham’s Dele Alli told BT Sport: “It’s devastating. We had belief before the game and we didn’t perform. This is the Champions League, if you don’t step up you will be punished.
“After the first one went in it didn’t change much but we conceded too many chances as a team. It’s hard to come back from those two goals. We had to show our maturity and fight and we didn’t do that.”
Tottenham have now gone six games without a win and Del Alli said: “We have to fight. We can’t be in the position we are in in the league, we can’t hide. This hasn’t been a good season for us.
“The reality is we are in a bad situation, confidence has gone at the minute.”
Italian side Atalanta will go into the last-eight draw after following their 4-1 home win by getting the better of a see-saw seven-goal game in an empty stadium.
Ilicic opened the scoring from the spot in the third minute after he had been brought down by Mouctar Diakhaby.
After Kevin Gameiro levelled in the 21st minute, Ilicic then converted a second penalty two minutes before half-time after a handball — confirmed after a video review — by the luckless Diakhaby.
Gameiro headed his second six minutes after the break and Ferran Torres put the Spanish side ahead, but Ilicic left-footed his third goal in the 71st minute and steered in a fourth with his left foot eight minutes from time. The 32-year-old Slovenia international is the first player to score four goals in a Champions League knockout match away from home.
On Wednesday, holders Liverpool greet Atletico Madrid, while Paris Saint-German meet Borussia Dortmund behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes. — DPA

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