Berlin, 19 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Title holders Liverpool had an unhappy return to the Wanda Metropolitana on Tuesday when they lost 1-0 against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16, while an Erling Haaland brace saw Borussia Dortmund beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1.
Atletico scored a fourth-minute winner from Saul Niguez and then stood firm in defence against the runaway English league leaders managed no shot on target in the arena where they beat Tottenham 2-0 for the title in June.
Haaland meanwhile struck in the 70th and 78th for Dortmund, with PSG getting a temporary equalizer from Neymar, to draw level with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski on a competition-leading 10 goals.
The Norwegian teenager netted eight times for RB Salzburg in the group stage before a January move to Dortmund where he has now scored 11 more goals in all competitions.
Asked where these were his most important career goals, Haaland told Sky TV “you could say so” as he added “It will be a hard game in Paris but we have a good team.”
PSG must now try to avoid a fourth straight last-16 exit on March 11 at the Parc des Princes while Liverpool have to reverse their tie against stubborn Atletico on the same day at Anfield if they want to stay alive.
“We conceded the goal from the corner, first chance for them, not even a chance. Bit of luck,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk told BT Sport.
“We had the ball most of the game but unfortunately could not create massive opportunities. We still have another 90 minutes to set it right.”
The 2014 and 2016 finalists Atletico got the dream start they wanted in a bid to unsettle Liverpool when Koke’s corner bounced off Fabinho to Saul for an easy tap-in four minutes into the game.
That allowed Diego Simeone’s side to sit back with their disciplined back line but they also continued to threaten, with Andy Robertsen making a last-gasp clearance ahead of the lurking Alvaro Morata, and Morata then denied by goalkeeper Alisson Becker from close range at the half-hour mark.
Liverpool controlled the ball but tried their luck in vain from long range before Mohamed Salah headed wide in the 53rd and captain Jordan Henderson volleyed wide 20 minutes later.
While Liverpool managed no shot at all at Jan Oblak’s goal Morata even had a golden opportunity to score a second for the underdogs but slipped.
Those who had anticipated a goalfest in Dortmund owing to the two sides’ great attacking line-ups and vulnerable defences were proven wrong at first as neither Dortmund nor PSG went all out in the French champions’ coach Thomas Tuchel’s return to his former club.
Neymar had the first chance when he fired a soft free-kick inches right in the 13th while on the other end Achraf Hakimi was blocked in a promising position in the 26th as Dortmund slowly started to impose their game.
Haaland hit the side-netting from a left angle in the 34th and seconds later could not properly connect with Jadon Sancho’s chipped cross.
The game finally burst to life in the 70th when Raphael Guerreiro’s shot was blocked by Marquinhos but the ball fell to Haaland who smashed home for Dortmund’s lead.
Neymar levelled six minutes later into an empty net after Mbappe had run into the area past two defenders, only for Haaland to smash home Dortmund’s second another two minutes on from the edge of the area for the winner.
“He is always ready and always wants to score. Two goals against Paris Saint-Germain, that’s class,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said in praise of Haaland.
He added “anything is possible now” and chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke insisted that “Paris now have all the pressure over the next three weeks.”
The first-leg matches continue Wednesday with Tottenham v RB Leipzig and Atalanta v Valenica. The other four games are next week, including Real Madrid v Manchester City.