Atletico Madrid eased to a 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League round of 16.

By SI.com Staff
February 21, 2017

Atletico Madrid enjoyed a 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 clash, taking a large advantage into next month's second leg.

Saul Niguez, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres scored for last year's Champions League runner-up, while Leverkusen is clinging to life in the competition after a poor defensive showing at home.

Saul opened the scoring with a sensational, curling strike from just inside the box in the 17th minute. 

Griezmann and Gameiro combined for a second soon after. After a horrible giveaway in the midfield, Gameiro streamed down the center, waiting for Griezmann's trailing run. He slid Griezmann the pass needed to put him in position to score, and he did just that, putting Leverkusen in a huge hole in the home leg.

Leverkusen pulled one back shortly after the restart, with Karim Bellarabi doing the honors. Benjamin Henrichs' cross from the right was redirected by Atletico goalkeeper Moya to make it 2-1 in the 48th minute.

Atletico Madrid restored the lead 11 minutes later, though, through Gameiro. The Frenchman delivered a powerful finish from the penalty spot after being taken down by Aleksandar Dragovic, though it appeared that the contact was initiated just outside the box. Nevertheless, the spot-kick was given, and Atletico added to its tally on the road.

Leverkusen got back within 3-2, though, after an awkward own goal. Julian Brandt delivered a cross from the left, only to have it parried by Moya off an Atletico Madrid defender with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez lurking.

Fernando Torres capped the day's scoring off a poorly defended sequence, though, sending Atletico Madrid into the second leg with a two-goal advantage and four precious away goals.

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