Spain

Bayer Leverkusen awaken stressful memories for Atletico Madrid

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid will be recalling the ghosts of their past after defeat in Germany, which opens them up to a potentially tricky path to progression to the knockout stages.

Early on Bayer Leverkusen came forward and flashed the ball across the box, somehow failing to get a meaningful touch on the ball. The match settled into more of rhythm and despite both teams combining for more than 10 shots, chances themselves were scarce. The major talking point was a handball in the box by Edmond Tapsoba, which was not given by the referee on review.

Shortly after the break, Leverkusen would strike the woodwork twice in quick succession. Patrik Schick was sent through and Ivo Grbic got enough on his shot to deflect the ball onto the bar, before the follow-up was headed onto the post.

Rodrigo de Paul arguably came closest for Los Colchoneros, his curling effort tipped over by Lukas Hradecky after neat interplay involving Joao Felix.

Diego Simeone’s side failed to trouble the Finnish captain too much more though. When Jeremie Frimpong came down the right and twisted inside to lay off Robert Andrich in the 83rd minute, who stroked the ball into the corner. Just three minutes later it was Frimpong again dashing away from defenders to play a delightful cross-field pass behind the backline for Moussa Diaby to tap in.

Atletico were well and truly sunk. While so often victories coming out of clunky performances can be praised for character, defeats with those same performances look particularly wanting. Ahead of the Madrid derby on Sunday, Atleti have more problems than solutions. On the horizon is a double-header against Club Brugge, who are top of the group with six points so far.