Section: Champions League

Champions League: Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Atletico Madrid

Hakan Calhanoglu gave Bayer Leverkusen victory in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against last year’s finalists Atletico Madrid.

Calhanoglu scored the only goal on 57 minutes, firing into the top of the net after Karim Bellarabi’s backheel.

Atletico had midfielder Tiago sent off for a foul on Bellarabi – his second booking – and had a goal ruled out.

Fernando Torres thought he had scored with a header following a corner, but the ball had already gone out of play.

The result means the tie remains in the balance ahead of the second leg at Atletico’s Vicente Calderon on 17 March.

Leverkusen have won just one of their past five Bundesliga matches and none of their previous seven Champions League knockout games.

But the German side, who finished second to Monaco in Group C, started well and nearly took the lead on 14 minutes when Emir Spahic’s header was hacked off the line by Mario Mandzukic.

Spahic, who replaced suspended Turkey international Omer Toprak in Leverkusen’s defence, beat Miguel Moya again 11 minutes later, but his 25-yard drive struck the woodwork.

Atletico, who had lost just one of their previous nine away games in the competition, were outfought for much of the first half.

But Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno was forced to tip a cross off Antoine Griezmann’s head and then pull of a wonderful save from Tiago’s volley as the interval approached.

It was the hosts who took the lead, though, as Bellarabi drove into the area and backheeled the ball into the path of Calhanoglu, who smashed home.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone, who had to make two substitutions in the first half, responded by replacing Arda Turan with former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Torres.

The Spaniard had the ball in the Leverkusen net on 74 minutes, only for his close-range header to be ruled out.

And the visitors’ hopes of a comeback were all but ended when they were reduced to 10 men moments later, with Tiago shown his second yellow card after sliding in on Bellarabi.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Arsenal 1-3 Monaco

Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010 suffered a stunning blow as they slumped to a shock 3-1 home defeat by Monaco.

The Gunners looked to have been handed a favourable draw but a display that plumbed the depths of incompetence and naivety leaves them facing a last-16 exit once more.

Monaco, resilient at the back and capable of punishing Arsenal’s shoddy defence, took the lead in the first half through Geoffrey Kondogbia’s deflected shot.

To add insult to injury, former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov added the second just after the break. There was even time for Arsenal to cast away the lifeline substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stoppage-time goal had given them as they were caught hopelessly on the counter once more as Yannick Ferreira Carrasco added a third goal.

As Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim did a Jose Mourinho-style celebration sprint down the touchline, Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger looked crestfallen and no wonder.

This stage has become Arsenal’s perennial stumbling block but Wenger would have had high hopes of clearing the hurdle against his former club, even though they had lost only once in their last 17 games.

But Arsenal were devoid of ideas and when they did create chances they fell to the hapless, and on this night hopeless, Olivier Giroud, who missed every one that came his way.

The eternal optimist Wenger will still believe they can escape from this hazardous position – but they will need to produce something on a different level from this dreadful performance to complete the salvage job.

After a bright opening in which Danny Welbeck threatened and Arsenal had a penalty claim ignored when Wallace appeared to handle, Monaco kept the Gunners at bay in relative comfort.

As Arsenal’s frustration grew, Monaco felt confident enough to move forward with increased ambition and the away goal they would have craved came seven minutes before the break.

Welbeck conceded possession and as Joao Moutinho moved forward he found the impressive Kondogbia, whose 25-yard shot took a decisive deflection off Per Mertesacker to leave keeper David Ospina helpless.

Giroud had been presented with Arsenal’s best opportunities but time and again the striker failed to hit the target. In the first half he scooped Hector Bellerin’s cross over then he turned Alexis Sanchez’s cross wide from six yards.

And how Arsenal paid the price for his profligacy and their own defensive naivety as Monaco doubled their lead after 53 minutes. From their own attack, Mertesacker in particular deserted his defensive post leaving Anthony Martial free to set up the unmarked Berbatov, who steadied himself before thumping a finish high past Ospina.

Giroud’s night got worse when he somehow tapped a simple finish over the top after keeper Danijel Subasic fumbled Sanchez’s shot – and with the fury of Arsenal’s fans ringing in his ears, it was a merciful release when he was replaced by Theo Walcott on the hour.

As Emirates Stadium emptied, Oxlade-Chamberlain, on for Francis Coquelin, curled in a goal that at least offered Arsenal some sort of hope for the second leg.

It was typical of how poor they were, however, that they somehow found themselves caught upfield once more to allow the speedy Ferreira-Carrasco to race clear and beat Ospina for what could be the decisive blow.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Man City 1-2 Barcelona

Luis Suarez marked his first return to England since a £75m summer move to Barcelona with two goals that leave Manchester City on the brink of a Champions League exit.

The former Liverpool striker demonstrated the quality the Premier League has been missing – and which defenders have been spared – with two strikes in the opening half-hour to put Barcelona in command of this last-16 first-leg tie.

City improved after the break and were rewarded with Sergio Aguero’s strike but their growing momentum was halted when Gael Clichy was sent off for a second yellow card.

And even though they still face a mountainous task at the Nou Camp in the second leg on 18 March – they need to score at least twice to have a chance of progressing – they were spared an even tougher job after keeper Joe Hart saved Lionel Messi’s penalty from virtually the final kick of the game.

Uruguay international Suarez preyed on the uncertainty of City captain Vincent Kompany throughout and with Messi the orchestrator, Luis Enrique’s side tormented the Premier League champions in the first half.

Suarez ended this summer’s World Cup in Brazil in disgrace after bitingItaly’s Giorgio Chiellini but it was not enough to dissuade Barcelona fromtaking him from Liverpool to La Liga and this was an illustration of exactly why, the movement and menace a familiar sight to those who had watched him terrorise opponents in the Premier League.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini will take some heart from the manner in which they created chances in the second half but in reality Barcelona are now overwhelming favourites to progress as they took advantage of the timidity of an opposition, without suspended midfield talisman Yaya Toure, who showed them far too much respect in the first 45 minutes.

Aguero’s goal and Hart’s save offer a lifeline but it is flimsy at best and City will need to produce a special performance in Catalonia to reach the quarter-finals.

Suarez, so often cast in the role of the Premier League’s villain during his time at Anfield, was jeered when his name was read out before kick-off – but he soon turned the taunts back on his tormentors as Barcelona produced an imperious first half display.

He had already threatened before he put Barcelona ahead after 13 minutes, reacting quickly to fire a low, angled finish past Hart after Messi’s cross had rebounded off Kompany.

City’s lame approach was in contrast to Pellegrini’s claim that they would attack Barcelona and they were lucky not to fall further behind when a brilliant pass from Messi released Suarez in behind Kompany but Hart rescued City with a crucial block at the striker’s feet.

Barcelona only ever seemed a moment away from another goal – and so it proved when Suarez pounced for his second on the half-hour, showing great instincts to turn Jordi Alba’s cross at the near post.

Dani Alves sent a glancing effort off the bar before an agonising first half drew to a close for City and supporters who had suffered in silence for long periods as Barcelona went through their party pieces.

City, as they had to do, showed some attacking ambition after the restart and should have pulled a goal back when the unmarked Edin Dzeko headed straight at keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen from only six yards out.

Aguero, so industrious despite barely having any service worthy of the name, was then only inches off target as City finally looked capable of posing Barcelona problems.

The goal City had threatened finally arrived with 21 minutes remaining, Aguero taking an inventive David Silva backheel in his stride before beating Ter Stegen.

Suddenly there was hope for City, although some of that was extinguished as Clichy was sent off four minutes later after receiving a second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Alves.

Messi had the chance to heap further punishment on City when he was fouled in the area by Pablo Zabaleta in the closing moments but Hart blocked his spot-kick and the Argentine headed wide of an open goal.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Juventus 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Juventus had to settle for a narrow first-leg lead after missing a several good chances against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League last-16 tie.

Carlos Tevez put the Italians ahead after Roman Weidenfeller spilled at his feet, but Dortmund soon struck back.

Marco Reus exploited Giorgio Chiellini’s slip to scamper in and shoot home just three minutes later.

Alvaro Morata’s careful finish put Juve back in front and the hosts could have stretched away in the second half.

After the break, Tevez went close on three occasions, Chiellini rose unmarked to head over the top and Roberto Pereyra shot just wide.

But the Italians ultimately failed to exploit Dortmund’s fragility and will take only a one-goal advantage to Germany.

The win took the Serie A champions’ unbeaten home run to 47 games and they made the fast start that a simmering atmosphere at the Juventus Stadium demanded.

With defenders back in numbers there appeared little danger for Dortmund despite Morata escaping the attentions of his man on the left.

But the Spaniard’s well-hit shot and Dortmund goalkeeper Weidenfeller’s fumble presented Tevez with a simple finish five yards out.

A woeful run of domestic form left them bottom of the Bundesliga at the start of 2015 but Dortmund have kept faith with a pressing game and their energy soon delivered parity.

Chiellini lost his footing as he attempted to control a routine ball forward and Reus, who has recently agreed a contract extension with the Germans,  raced in on goal and coolly beat Gianluigi Buffon.

The visitors enjoyed more of the possession for the rest of the half but never looked secure at the back.

Leonardo Bonucci headed over from a good position for Juventus, and Dortmund were caught out again by a swift counter-attack just before the break as Morata was left free to side-foot home from six yards.

Dortmund continued to be undermined as Weidenfeller and his defence wobbled through to the end of the tie but, with an away goal secured, they will hope the Westfalenstadion can inspire them to the quarter-finals.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Schalke 0-2 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo help Real Madrid to victory over Schalke

Real Madrid are on course to make the Champions League quarterfinals after a 2-0 victory at Schalke in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Schalke went into the game as huge underdogs, having lost 6-1 at home and 3-1 away when they met Madrid at the same stage in last year’s competition, but they had looked the more likely to make the breakthrough at the start of the match.

However, the home side found themselves trailing on 26 minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo was allowed the space to head home for his 58th goal in 58 Champions League appearances, the Portuguese ending a goal drought that had approached five hours.

Schalke’s prospects then receded further when former Madrid forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had to be substituted before the break with a leg injury.

However, Huntelaar’s replacement, Felix Platte, came close to an equaliser on his Champions League debut as he smashed a shot against the crossbar on 74 minutes, with Atsuto Uchida unable to beat Iker Casillas from the follow-up.

Soon afterwards, Madrid had extended their advantage, with Marcelo unleashing a stunning right-footed strike into the top corner.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: PSG 1-1 Chelsea

Stubborn resistance and a Branislav Ivanovic header earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw in the Champions League last-16 first leg with Paris St Germain at Parc des Princes.

Jose Mourinho’s men are well placed to advance to the quarter-finals after Ivanovic netted a vital away goal, although Edinson Cavani equalised and PSG showed enough for Chelsea to be wary in the second leg on March 11.

Chelsea advanced to the semi-finals at PSG’s expense last term on away goals after losing 3-1 in Paris and Demba Ba’s last-gasp strike in the return in London.

The Blues had won just once in six prior attempts on French soil, at PSG in Mourinho’s first European match as boss in September 2004.

With striker Diego Costa restored following his disputed three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can and returns for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, defender Gary Cahill and playmaker Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea were at full strength against an injury-depleted PSG, who started with former Chelsea defender David Luiz in midfield.

Luiz stated on the eve of the match that Chelsea were a better team than last season and they fared better than on their last trip to Paris.

Chelsea’s bus became stuck entering the stadium and Zlatan Ibrahimovic caused the visitors all kinds of difficulties once the match began.

Courtois made three saves from headers in the first half, the pick from Cavani, before Ivanovic’s header against the run of play.

Cavani equalised after losing Cahill to meet Blaise Matuidi’s cross and both the Uruguay striker and Ibrahimovic had chances to double PSG’s lead.

The Swede was denied by Courtois in stoppage time to leave Chelsea in control of the tie heading to Stamford Bridge.

There are three weeks and a day before the return, by which time Chelsea’s confidence may be boosted by silverware, with the Capital One Cup final against Tottenham on March 1.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich’s Xabi Alonso was sent off in his 100th Champions League game as his side played out a drab stalemate against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

The former Liverpool midfielder fouled Taison to collect a second yellow card with around 25 minutes to play.

Earlier, Thomas Muller had pulled a shot wide when clean through for Bayern and he fired over before the break.

But neither side threatened after Alonso’s red in a tetchy game. They meet again in Munich on 11 March.

The sides shared 35 fouls and six yellow cards in addition to Alonso’s red, with attacks often cut short by tactical fouls when danger looked likely.

Shakhtar, champions in Ukraine, will be “heroes” if they overcome Bayern according to the manager Mircea Lucescu as his side are still playing home fixtures away from their Donbass Arena because of conflict in the area.

They have also not played a competitive game since December as the Ukraine Premier League – in which they sit second to Dynamo Kiev – is on its winter break.

Playing several hundred miles away from home in the western city of Lviv, they arrived to face a Bayern side who had hammered Hamburg 8-0 on Saturday but ended the night having restricted their visitors to few chances.

Though Muller sprang the offside trap from Arjen Robben’s pass in the first half, he could only pull his shot across the goalmouth from 10 yards and he then fired over from a Franck Ribery pull-back late in the first period.

Shakhtar, boasting the tournament’s top scorer in Luiz Adriano, played on the break but only got their talisman into the game sparingly and he left the field late on having completed just 44% of his 18 passes.

Alonso tangled with Shakhtar winger Taison when the Brazilian threatened a break away, prompting a second yellow card, but the Ukrainians failed to make their advantage count and both sides settled for a point.

They will reconvene in three weeks’ time in Munich, where Bayern have not lost since defeat against Real Madrid in the semi-final of this competition last season.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Bony replaces Jovetic in Man City Champions League squad

Striker Wilfried Bony has replaced Stevan Jovetic in Manchester City’s squad for the Champions League.

Ivory Coast international Bony, 26, joined City from Swansea City last month in a £25m deal.

His arrival meant City had one more foreign player in their squad than they are permitted to register for European competition.

City face Barcelona in the last 16 of the competition – the first leg of which is at home on 24 February.

The return leg at the Nou Camp is three weeks later.

The decision by manager Manuel Pellegrini to leave out Jovetic, 25, means he will continue to be restricted to just three senior strikers for the remainder of the competition – Bony, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

City, as punishment for breaching Uefa’s Financial Fair Play restrictions, are restricted to naming just 16 foreign players in their squad rather than the usual 17 with their squad capped at 21.

France full-back Gael Clichy and Belgium defender Dedryck Boyata do not count on the foreign quota as they qualify as home-grown and club-trained players respectively.

Jovetic, who missed large spells last season with calf and hamstring problems, has scored just 11 goals since his £22m move from Fiorentina in 2013.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: ManCity v Barcelona, PSG v Chelsea, Arsenal v Monaco

Man City draw Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League for the second year in a row with Chelsea to face PSG and Arsenal get Monaco.

Arsenal will take on Monaco, while defending champions Real Madrid face Schalke with Bayern Munich drawn to play Shakhtar Donetsk.

Champions League last-16 draw

Paris St-Germain v Chelsea
Manchester City v Barcelona
Paris St-Germain v Atletico Madrid
Juventus v Borussia Dortmund
Schalke v Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk v Bayern Munich
Arsenal v Monaco
Basel v Porto

The first legs of the last 16 ties will take place on February 17/18 and 24/25, with the return matches on March 10/11 and 17/18.

Chelsea, as a seeded group winner, will be away in the first leg with Arsenal and City at home, having finished as runners-up in their respective groups.

Arsene Wenger had admitted before this morning’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland, that he was hoping to face Monaco, whom Arsenal have never played before and where Wenger was in charge between 1987 and 1994, winning the Ligue 1 title and the Coupe de France.

“I don’t think many people want Real Madrid,” he said. “I don’t want Bayern Munich and I am sure they don’t want us as well. I am not against Monaco.

“I have great memories from my time there. They gave me a chance when I was a very young manager. When I arrived they had never passed the first round in the European Cup; we had good times.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Roma 0-2 Man City

Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta struck in the second half as Manchester City reached the Champions League knockout stage with a brilliant win at Roma.

French playmaker Nasri chose the perfect moment to score his first goal of the season, smashing in a shot via the woodwork on the hour at the Stadio Olimpico.

Until then a City side without three of their key players had been second best but Joe Hart was outstanding and they grew in confidence to claim a famous victory when Nasri set up Zabaleta after 86 minutes.

It completed a remarkable comeback in Group E, with progress having looked unlikely just a couple of weeks ago.

CSKA Moscow’s defeat to Bayern Munich confirmed that City, who had just two points after four games, would join the Germans in the last 16 against the odds.

Despite City’s heroics against Bayern to revive their campaign a fortnight ago, their task in the Italian capital always seemed a tough one.

It grew all the more daunting before kick-off as captain Vincent Kompany failed to prove his fitness to miss out along with the injured Sergio Aguero and suspended Yaya Toure.

City at least had playmaker David Silva back on the bench but they looked shaky from the outset as Roma – and principally former Arsenal forward Gervinho – ran at them at every opportunity.

Play was briefly held up in the first minute as City goalkeeper Hart removed an object from the pitch which had apparently been thrown from the stands.

But it soon started to look like Hart would have a busy night for more orthodox reasons as Gervinho got behind the defence and volleyed a cross which was scrambled clear.

Jose Holebas then went through on Hart but scuffed a shot that went through the keeper’s legs but Zabaleta got back to clear.

Gervinho threatened again with good runs through the middle and down the left but City crowded him out and then saw Ivorian blaze over.

City had a chance when Gael Clichy found space to cross for lone striker Edin Dzeko but the Bosnian could not keep his header down.

City survived twice more Adem Ljajic shot over and Gervinho, after breaking from inside his own half, drove across goal and wide.

Nasri reached the byline to pull back for Dzeko but the striker scooped over and Jesus Navas had a strike disallowed for a foul in the build-up.

Former City defender Maicon and Gervinho both shot at Hart as Roma continued to look the better side but James Milner forced Morgan de Sanctis to block after breaking through.

Gervinho wanted a penalty after going down in the area but Serbian referee Milorad Mazic was not interested and booked Dzeko and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for some pushing and shoving in the aftermath.

Read more at ESPN