Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov rolled back the years to score as Monaco pulled off the biggest upset in the round of 16 play as they beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates to all but lock up a place in the quarter finals.
The 34-year-old Berbatov scored the match winner and it mean that none of the three English sides left in the competition won their first leg games, Chelsea having been held 1-1 by defending French champions Paris Saint Germain last week.
“We are confident in our ability so honestly we deserved to win,” Berbatov, who is Monaco’s leading scorer this season with eight goals, told Sky Sports.
“We scored our chances and in the end it’s a great win for us. It’s not over, we have one more game in Monaco and Arsenal are a great team.”
This was a shockingly bad performance by Arsenal who were wasteful in front of goal and naive defensively. All complaints that Arsenal fans have had about Arsene Wenger’s sides for years.
The night’s other match was an ill-tempered affair which saw one player sent off and eight other players booked. However, German side Bayer Leverkusen gave themselves a glimmer of hope of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time as they beat last season’s finalists Atletico Madrid 1-0.
“I think we were clearly the better team and therefore we deserved the win,” said Calhanoglu. “I gave it all I had for the goal, but we have to play just as well in the return leg as we did today and then we have a good chance.”
This was an unusually physical match for a Champions League tie. Atletico usually physically dominate teams, but Bayer’s game plan was to match the Spanish champions tackle for tackle, and this game threatened to boil over on several occasions. It will be interesting to see if Bayer can replicate this intensity for 90 minutes in the second leg in Madrid.