Tuesday February 18 2020
CL: Dortmund and Atleti win first legs

Borussia Dortmund beat PSG 2-1 with an Erling Haaland brace, while Atletico Madrid’s early Saul Niguez tap-in proved enough to defeat Liverpool 1-0.

The first legs of the Champions League Round of 16 were played this evening with two home wins.

Saul Niguez reacted quicker than anyone when a Koke corner bounced off Fabinho into the six-yard box, giving Atleti the lead within five minutes at the Wanda Metropolitano.

This worked perfectly for Diego Simeone, whose men could then sit back and go on the counter with Alvaro Morata testing Alisson Becker.

Mohamed Salah had the ball in the net, but only after Roberto Firmino had strayed offside in the build-up, negating a Jan Oblak howler.

For all the possession, Liverpool managed barely a single shot, Salah’s attempt deflected over by Felipe and the former Roma star’s header whistling just wide.

Alvaro Morata wasted another promising move by slipping over at the crucial moment from 12 yards, then Lodi drilling just wide. At the other end, Jordan Henderson hooked a half-volley inches past the far post, but the Atletico Madrid defence held firm and avoided conceding a potentially costly away goal against the reigning champions.

In Germany, 19-year-old January signing Haaland confirmed he is the real deal with a brace as Borussia Dortmund beat PSG 2-1.

Neymar curled a free kick wide and Jadon Sancho wasted a counter-attack by trying to go it alone, then Marco Verratti needed a perfect tackle to stop Emre Can turning in.

Sancho did better on 27 minutes, forcing a save from Keylor Navas with his swerving strike, then Erling Haaland hit the side-netting, while after the break Navas denies Hakimi from close range.

There was a double chance for the visitors on 65 minutes, as Kylian Mbappé saw his angled drive beaten away at the near post, Neymar scuffing the rebound.

When the deadlock was eventually broken, naturally it was Haaland, as substitute Gio Reyna’s effort hit the Norwegian, who reacted quickly to turn in the rebound from five yards. It made him the first ever player to score in the Champions League for two different clubs in one season.

However, PSG got back on track almost immediately. Mbappé rode a poor Dan-Axel Zagadou tackle and rolled it across the face of goal for the Neymar tap-in.

Haaland restored the Dortmund lead on a Reyna assist, smashing a scorcher into the near top corner from the edge of the box. Incredibly, it was his 10th Champions League goal in just seven games between RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund.

Suddenly, the game was wide open and Neymar rattled the frame of the goal after a defensive error, then Mats Hummels got a decisive blog on the Brazilian.

Verratti had been defensively flawless in Dortmund, only to receive a futile yellow card at the 88th minute for dissent, meaning he’ll be suspended for the second leg along with Thomas Meunier.

Thiago Silva’s header from a corner skimmed the bar with the last kick of the game, so ultimately Paris Saint-Germain will be content with a 2-1 result in the away fixture.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

Saul Niguez 4 (A)

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 PSG

Haaland 69, 77 (B), Neymar 75 (P)

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