Champions League: Leipzig knockout Spurs, Atalanta fairytale continues

Tottenham crashed out of the Champions League as RB Leipzig cruised to a 3-0 win on Tuesday to progress to the quarterfinals for the first time 4-0 on aggregate.

Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer struck twice in the first 21 minutes to put the tie to bed before substitute Emil Forsberg added the third late on with his first touch.

Unlike many fixtures across Europe this week, there were no restrictions on supporters attending due to the spread of coronavirus and the Leipzig fans were able to enjoy a nerve-free evening.

Spurs travelled to eastern Germany shorn of striking options without the injured Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn.

However, it was at the other end that they buckled inside the opening quarter of the game as two errors from Hugo Lloris in goal turned a tough task into an impossible one.

Spurs produced a remarkable fightback from 3-0 down on aggregate away at Ajax in last season’s semifinals to make the final for the first time in the club’s history thanks to Lucas Moura’s hat-trick.

But in keeping with their collapse since that night in Amsterdam last May, Mourinho’s men lacked the quality and belief needed to reproduce that thrilling fightback.

Forsberg was more clinical just 32 seconds after replacing Sabitzer to fire into the far corner three minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Atalanta’s fairytale Champions League run continued inside an empty stadium on Tuesday as Josip Ilicic scored four times in a 4-3 win over Valencia that sent his team into the quarterfinals 8-4 on aggregate.

A frantic contest inside an echoing Mestalla stadium was the first of several in the competition to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus, with 55 000 vacant seats creating a surreal atmosphere that was never likely to deliver a momentous Valencia comeback.

They had been tasked with overturning a 4-1 defeat from the opening game in Italy and any hopes were all-but dashed inside 90 seconds when Mouctar Diakhaby conceded the first of two penalties, each converted by Ilicic.

In between, Kevin Gameiro had levelled for Valencia and then scored again shortly after halftime before Ferran Torres lobbed in to leave the hosts needing three in just over 20 minutes.

Yet any chance of a revival was quickly snuffed out as Ilicic completed his hat-trick and added a fourth to ensure Atalanta ended a strange evening with their names in the draw on March 20.

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