Miguel Moya

Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Atletico Madrid: Calhanoglu’s strike gives Germans deserved edge

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Hakan Calhanoglu’s second-half wonder strike snapped Bayer Leverkusen’s 7-match UEFA Champions League knockout round losing streak and will send the Bundesliga club to Spain with a 1-0 lead over Atletico Madrid after the first leg.

[ RELATED: Champions League standings ]

After a significant ‘feeling out’ period that had Atletico struggling to keep up with Bayer’s high-press, Bayer nearly took a deserved 1-0 lead.

Bayer defender Emir Spahic found some space 30 yards out and rattled a shot off the intersection of the right post and the crossbar. Keeper Miguel Moya flew to get a tiny piece of it, but it flew past.

Had Bayer wasted a prime chance to have a home lead, as Atletico looked unlike themselves?

[ RELATED: Champions League schedule ]

source: APThen Calhanoglu picked up a backheel from Karim Bellarabi and hammered a strike into the goal. After 57 minutes, the hosts were finally up.

Josep Drmic made a cunning dribble in the 74th minute, but couldn’t double Bayer’s lead.

Atletico had appeared to equalize in the 76th minute when a corner kick was flicked onto an unmarked Fernando Torres, but the goal was disallowed on the grounds that the curving corner went out of bounds pre-flick.

Tiago picked up a second yellow card moments later for a wild slide tackle, and was sent off to further damage the La Liga club’s hopes of tying up the match.

Pedro hat-trick in nine minutes gives Barcleona comeback win

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Barcelona found themselves 2-0 down inside 14 minutes at Getafe, but rallied for a 5-2 victory thanks to a hat-trick by Pedro.

With Neymar and Lionel Messi both unavailable, Pedro took his opportunity in the spotlight well.

The 26-year-old picked up his first goal in the 34th minute when he broke free and chipped off Getafe goalkeeper Miguel Moya’s fingertips to get Barcelona back within one.

Six minutes later he broke down the left flank and his teammates found the run. Pedro latched onto the through ball, cut back inside, and rifled across face to the far corner.

The third came just two minutes later as Jordi Alba’s cross banged off Valera’s legs and fell right to Pedro in the box, who strongly finished for his hat-trick.

Cesc Fabregas added two more in the second half and the La Liga leaders kept pace with Atletico Madrid, who beat Levante 3-2. Both teams are level on 46 points but Barcelona have a 2-goal advantage in differential.

Messi is still nursing a hamstring injury, and Neymar was suspended for yellow-card accumulation.