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Atletico Madrid hold two-goal edge after first leg at Bayer Leverkusen

Atletico Madrid beat hosts Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in a topsy-turvy encounter on Tuesday to take a firm handle on their Champions League round-of-16 tie ahead of the return leg in Spain next month.

Two lethal counter-attacks in the opening 25 minutes put the 2014 and 2016 finalists in the driving seat, with Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann on target, and give them the edge for a quarterfinal spot for the ninth time.

Leverkusen, who paid the price for a disastrous defensive performance, cut the deficit before Atletico’s Kevin Gameiro scored with a spot kick and Stefan Savic’s own goal set up a nervous finale.

Fernando Torres ended any speculation with his goal in the 86th minute to take revenge for last season’s 1-0 loss as the Germans suffered their first home defeat in Europe after a 10-match unbeaten run.

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