Champions League: RB Leipzig seizes lead at Tottenham, while Cinderella emerges in Italy (video)

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Timo Werner (center) scored the decisive goal in RB Leipzig's Champions League win over Tottenham. (Photo by Adam Davy/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)
Timo Werner (center) scored the decisive goal in RB Leipzig's Champions League win over Tottenham. (Photo by Adam Davy/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

Two sides came into Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 encounters ravaged by injuries, and the other two sides took advantage.

RB Leipzig beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in North London on a penalty by Timo Werner, while Atalanta crushed Valencia 4-1 at the San Siro in the first Champions League knockout stage game in club history.

Werner’s penalty lifts RB Leipzig past Spurs

While injuries have ransacked Spurs’ attacking corps, RB Leipzig’s striker proved the difference as Werner’s goal in the 58th minute handed his side a valuable away goal.

Ben Davies chopped down Konrad Laimer in the box, and Werner beat Hugo Lloris low with an expert finish:

Lloris acquitted himself well apart from the penalty, making four saves and plugging the dam as RB Leipzig generated numerous chances:

With Son Heung-min set for a lengthy absence with a fractured arm and Harry Kane is still sidelined with a hamstring tear, Tottenham didn’t offer much threat going forward against RB Leipzig, which controlled vast swaths of the match.

RB Leipzig was without United States international Tyler Adams, who is dealing with a calf injury, but pressed and combined well and generally turned in an away performance befitting the club that’s perhaps emerged as Bayern Munich’s chief challenger this season in the Bundesliga.

Atalanta hounds Valencia but leaves door slightly ajar

Atalanta was the Cinderella of the Champions League knockout stage even before putting four past banged-up Valencia.

Two goals from Hans Hateboer and two golazos from Josip Iličić and Remo Freuler staked the Serie A newcomers a big lead before Denis Cheryshev salvaged an away goal.

Hateboer’s first came when he crashed the net in the 16th minute, then Iličić blasted past Valencia keeper Jaume Doménech shortly before halftime:

Freuler’s dazzling curler preceded Hateboer’s second in the second half:

Valencia was already without center back Ezequiel Garay for the rest of the season due to a knee injury, and fellow center back Gabriel Paulista was suspended for the first leg vs. Atalanta due to card accumulation in the group stage. Fullback Cristiano Piccini missed the game due to injury, as did forwards Rodrigo Moreno and Manu Vallejo and midfield anchor Francis Coquelin.

In truth, Valencia deserved a much better result than it left with. Cheryshev’s goal offers some hope. A 3-0 win is not out of the realm of possibility in the return leg in three weeks’ time.

It’s going to take some serious work against Atalanta, which suddenly sees a deep run in Europe as very possible.

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