The first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 finally kicked off with an upset after Atletico Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Saul Niguez fired the lone goal of the match in the 4th minute, which is enough to give the Spanish club a 1-0 lead on aggregate over the defending UEFA Champions League champions.
“This is the result of hard work and what happens when you never stop believing but keep on going,” said Niguez via ESPN.
“We have kept on working even though no one believes in us and wants to bring us down. I celebrated the goal with so much passion because I was so up for the game, we have been criticized a lot but luckily, I was able to help us out,” Niguez added.
Playing in the same stadium, when they won the Champions League last season against Tottenham, Liverpool failed to score any goal in the match as the attempts of Mohammed Salah and Jordan Henderson did not succeed.
“It was not exactly what should happen but it happened,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport, quoted in the report of ESPN. “It was the fight we expected and the atmosphere we expected but I love so many parts of our game. It is only 1-0 down at halftime and the second half we played at our stadium.”
Leg 2 of the series will be held at Anfield in Liverpool on March 11th.
In another Champions League Round of 16 matches, Borussia Dortmund got the head start in beating Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1 in the first leg of the series on the same day at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Germany.
Erling Haaland found the back of the net twice during the 69th and 77th minute in the delight of their home fans. Neymar managed to score for Paris Saint-Germain in the 75th minute.
“I still need to improve, keep working,” Haaland said via ESPN on his performance against the French powerhouse club. “I want to go far in the Champions League. With the second goal, I enjoyed the moment.”
Borussia Dortmund now holds a 2-1 lead on aggregate over the French Ligue 1 champions.
Borussia Dortmund, with Haaland leading the way since joining the German Club from Red Bull Salzburg last January will try to advance to the quarterfinals with leg 2 of the series will take place on Parc des Princes in Paris, France.
Last season’s finalist Tottenham Hotspur, suffered the same fate of fellow finalist, Liverpool, in absorbing a 1-0 loss over RB Leipzig, in front of their home crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London last February 19th.
Timo Werner scored via a penalty kick in the 58th minute to record the only goal in the match and handling RB Leipzig a 1-0 lead on aggregate.
Tottenham will try to salvage to keep their Champions League campaign alive in leg 2 of the series, set to take place at Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany on March 11th.
Atalanta pummelled Valencia, 4-1 in at San Siro in Milan, Italy last February 19th to wrap-up the first week of leg 1 matches.
Hans Hateboer scored in the 16th and 62nd minute for the brace while Josip Ilicic and Remo Freuler added a goal each, recorded in 42nd and 57th minute respectively for the Italian club that making their Champions League debut this season.
“We need to be more precise when we go to the Mestalla, “Atalanta coach Gian Pierro Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia, quoted in a report of ESPN.
“If we want to get into the quarter-finals, we have to play like this at the Mestalla too, prove we deserve to be there with a show of strength, and win there too,” Gasperini added.
Denis Cheryshev scored for Valencia during the 66th minute for Valencia, which is set to host the leg 2 of the series on March 10th at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain.
Other Round of 16 matches between Real Madrid and Manchester City; Chelsea and Bayern Munich; Napoli and FC Barcelona and Juventus and Lyon will happen the following week.