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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PHOTOS: Arsenal, Atletico face shock defeats

Champions League PHOTOS: Arsenal, Atletico face shock defeats

February 26, 2015 10:44 IST

Photos from the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg-matches played on Wednesday

Geoffrey Kondogbia #22 (centre) of Monaco celebates with teammates after scoring the opening goal against Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first leg match at The Emirates Stadium in London on Wednesday

Geoffrey Kondogbia #22 (centre) of Monaco celebates with teammates after scoring the opening goal against Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first leg match at The Emirates Stadium in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

AS Monaco gave Arsenal a lesson in patient, counter-attacking football to win their Champions League last 16 first leg-match 3-1 in London on Wednesday, heaping more European agony on Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal boss Wenger, a former manager at Monaco, is now facing elimination at this stage of the competition for the fifth straight season after the shattering home defeat.

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French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia put the visitors ahead after 38 minutes, when he crashed in a long range shot that took a deflection off Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, leaving goalkeeper David Ospina helpless.

Bulgarian veteran Dimitar Berbatov, continually jeered by the home fans because of his past links with their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur, added the second after 53 minutes after a devastating Monaco counter-attack.

Arsenal pulled one back in stoppage time when substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain curled home from the edge of the area, but Monaco scored even later to restore their two-goal advantage when substitute Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco scored with a shot that went in off the post.

Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal is tackled by Elderson Uwa Echiejile of Monaco during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first leg match

Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal is tackled by Elderson Uwa Echiejile of Monaco. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Arsenal wasted several chances with Olivier Giroud spurning four scoring opportunities to leave Arsenal with a mountain to climb when Wenger takes his side back to the principality for the second leg on March 17.

Wenger's Arsenal flew out of the blocks against his old team, testing the resilience of Monaco's rock-solid defence with a series of early raids.

Giroud went close with a header during Arsenal's opening dominant spell, and then wasted three chances after the break before being substituted, but Monaco weathered the early storm, subduing both the crowd and the home players.

The visitors gradually played their way into the match with winger Anthony Martial and Joao Moutinho looking particularly dangerous, but it was still a surprise when they took the lead through Kondogbia's long-range effort.

There was no real surprise, however, when they doubled their advantage as they were playing the better football when Berbatov's powerful finish ended a swift break.

Bayer Leverkusen's Hakan Calhanoglu (centre) scores a goal past Atletico Madrid's goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya (left) during their Champions League round of 16, first leg match in Leverkusen on Wednesday

Bayer Leverkusen's Hakan Calhanoglu (centre) scores a goal past Atletico Madrid's goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya (left) during their Champions League round of 16, first leg match in Leverkusen on Wednesday. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Bayer Leverkusen stunned last season's runners-up Atletico Madrid 1-0 in their Champions League round of 16 first leg on Wednesday courtesy of a fine strike by Hakan Calhanoglu.

The Turkey international scored the 57th-minute winner to set Leverkusen, who are struggling for form in the Bundesliga, on the way to their first ever win at this stage of the competition.

"This was a very, very good game from us," goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who twice rescued his team in the first half, told reporters.

"We showed a reaction to the criticism of the past week. We had some bad games but tonight we bounced back."

For Atletico, who were left with 10 men when Tiago was sent off following a second booking in the 76th minute, it was only their second loss in a Champions League away game since September 2013.

The Spanish champions will also be missing key defender Diego Godin for the return leg after the Uruguayan was booked and will be suspended in Madrid.

"They play as they do and they do it well," said Atletico coach Diego Simeone.

"We each had a clear chance and they took theirs and we didn't. It could have been a worse result. But I am confident for the return leg."

Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender goes on the ground after colliding with Atletico Madrid's Raul Garcia (top)

Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender goes on the ground after colliding with Atletico Madrid's Raul Garcia (top). Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Leverkusen had hoped the European stage would lift their game after a rocky start to the year sent them down to sixth in the Bundesliga.

They did not have to wait long for a chance with Atletico striker Mario Mandzukic clearing an Emir Spahic effort on the line in the 12th minute.

The Bosnian defender came even closer in the 26th when his thundering drive bounced off the crossbar.

Leno saved the hosts with a brilliant reflex effort on the stroke of halftime, palming away a powerful volley from Tiago.

In a very physical encounter in which coaches Simeone and Roger Schmidt had a heated argument on the sidelines, Leverkusen grabbed a deserved lead through Calhanoglu.

Karim Bellarabi drew three players on to him before cleverly flicking the ball on for Calhanoglu who lashed the ball into the roof of the net.

 

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