Atalanta hit form to fire four past Valencia in Champions League

Atalanta marked their debut in the knockout stages of the Champions League in style by crushing Valencia 4-1 in the first leg of their last 16 clash in Italy.

Atalanta hit form to fire four past Valencia in Champions League

Atlanta 4 - Valencia4

Atalanta marked their debut in the knockout stages of the Champions League in style by crushing Valencia 4-1 in the first leg of their last 16 clash in Italy.

Josip Ilicic starred for the Italians who punished their more experienced opponents and gave them a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Mestalla in three weeks’ time.

Gian Gasperini’s in-form side – who made headlines by firing seven past Torino in January – grabbed the lead in the 16th minute through Hans Hateboer.

And when Ilicic grabbed Atalanta’s second from the edge of the box three minutes before the interval it set the hosts up for another memorable evening.

Remo Freuler curled home his side’s third in the 58th minute and Hateboer grabbed his second five minutes later, before Valencia substitute Denis Cheryshev gave his side a glimmer of hope.

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Also playing their first game in the knockout stages, the German side sealed their deserved advantage through Timo Werner’s second half penalty.

Hugo Lloris made a number of superb saves to minimise the damage for Jose Mourinho’s men, who were without the injured pair Son Heung-min and Harry Kane.

Giovani Lo Celso missed the best chance for Spurs, who will want to repeat their come-from-behind win over Ajax last season having succumbed to a similar first leg deficit.

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