Sanchez brace gives Barcelona edge over Leverkusen


Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring during the Champions League last 16 tie against Bayer Leverkusen.

Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring during the Champions League last 16 tie against Bayer Leverkusen.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Barcelona enjoy comfortable 3-1 win in first leg of Champions League tie against Bayer Leverkusen
  • Lyon beat Cyprus’ APOEL FC 1-0 to edge first leg of their last 16 tie

(CNN) — Barcelona have one foot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League after completing a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night.

The reigning European champions dominated possession for large parts of the game with Alexis Sanchez opening the scoring in the 41st minute.

The Chilean striker chased onto a pass from Lionel Messi before firing past Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Leverkusen equalized seven minutes after the break as recent signing Vedran Corluka chipped in a cross from which Czech Republic defender Michel Kadlec headed home.

But it wasn’t long before Barca were back in front as Sanchez bagged his second of the night scoring from a tight angle after received the ball from Cesc Fabregas.

Leverkusen had chances to equalize again as Renato Augusto forced a save from Victor Valdes and midfielder Gonzalo Castro also hit the post in the 64th minute.

But it was Messi who had the final say on the evening converting a cross from Dani Alves in the 88th minute.

The return leg will be played at the Nou Camp on March 7.

In Tuesday’s other tie, Lyon scored a narrow 1-0 win over Cypriot minnows APOEL FC at the Stade Gerland.

Alexandre Lacazette goal in the 58th minute proved the difference between the teams but the first team from Cyprus to reach the knockout stages are still in the tie which concludes in Nicosia on March 7.

There were two Europa League ties played Tuesday with Besiktasbeating 10-man Braga 2-0 in the first leg of their last 32 tie.

Helder Barbosa’s dismissal in the first half capped a miserable night for last year’s finalists as their Turkish visitors made the most of the numerical advantage with goals in either half from Tomas Sivok and former Portuguese international Simao.

Olympiakos narrowly beat Russian side Rubin 1-0 thanks to a goal from David Fuster in the 73rd minute with former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll coming on as a substitute to save a penalty five minutes later to earn the Greek side a hard fought victory.

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Football bucks the trend as Europe’s richest get richer


<br/>Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona were the top two teams in Deloitte's 2010-11 money list. Real are in first place for the seventh year in a row with a revenue of €479.5 million, with Barca second after generating €450.7 million.
Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona were the top two teams in Deloitte’s 2010-11 money list. Real are in first place for the seventh year in a row with a revenue of €479.5 million, with Barca second after generating €450.7 million
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid named Europe’s top-earning team for the seventh year in a row
  • Real head archrivals Barcelona at the top of the Deloitte Football Money League
  • English champions Manchester United are third, with Germany’s Bayern Munich fourth
  • In total, the 20 clubs on the list generated $5.8 billion during the 2010/11 season

         The European economy may be experiencing a downturn, but the continent’s wealthiest football clubs have once again bucked the trend according to financial adviser Deloitte.

The Football Money League shows that the combined revenue of Europe’s top soccer clubs was €4.4 billion ($5.8 billion) for the 2010-11 season, a 3% rise on the previous year.

Spanish giants Real Madrid have been named Europe’s highest-earning club for the seventh year in a row. The nine-time European champions’ revenue of €479.5 million ($635 million) is an increase on €438.6 million for 2009-10.

Revenue (in million euros)

1. Real Madrid (479.5)

2. Barcelona (450.7)

3. Manchester United (367)

4. Bayern Munich (321.4)

5. Arsenal (251.1)

6. Chelsea (249.8)

7. AC Milan (235.1)

8. Inter Milan (211.4)

9. Liverpool (203.3)

10. Schalke (202.4)

11. Tottenham Hotspur (181)

12. Manchester City (169.6)

13. Juventus (153.9)

14. Marseille (150.4)

15. Roma (143.5)

16. Dortmund (138.5)

17. Lyon (132.8)

18. Hamburg (128.8)

19. Valencia (116.8)

20. Napoli (114.9)

Real’s archrivals and reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona were second on the 20-club list with a revenue of €450.7 million ($597 million).

The Madrid giants are closing in on Manchester United’s record of topping the list for eight consecutive years. The top six clubs in the money league have remained the same for the fourth year in a row.

“Continued growth of the top 20 clubs during 2010-11 emphasizes the strength of football’s top clubs, especially in these tough economic times,” Deloitte partner Dan Jones said.

“Whilst revenue growth has slowed from 8% in 2009-10 to 3% in 2010-11, their large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive strong broadcast audiences and continuing attraction to corporate partners has made them relatively resilient to the economic downturn.”

England boasted the most teams in the list with a total of six. Premier League champions United were third on the list, having generated €367 million ($486 million), up from €349.8 million.

The London duo of Arsenal and Chelsea were fifth and sixth on the list respectively. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal boasted a revenue of €251.1 million ($332 million), down on last year’s figure of €274.1 million.

Chelsea, backed by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, saw revenue fall from €255.9 million in 2009-10 to €249.8 million ($330 million).

The other English clubs on the list were ninth-placed Liverpool (€203.3 million), Tottenham Hotspur in 11th with €181 million and big-spending Premier League leaders Manchester City in 12th on €169.9 million.

Four-time European champions Bayern Munich were the leading German club on the list in fourth place having generated €321.4 million ($425 million) — a small decrease on the previous period.

Tenth-placed Schalke, Borussia Dortmund in 16th and Hamburg, 18th, were Germany’s other representatives.

Five Italian clubs made the top 20 with city rivals AC Milan (€235.1 million) and Inter (€211.4 million) seventh and eighth respectively as both suffered reductions in revenues.

Serie A leaders Juventus were 10th with Roma rising three places to 15th and Napoli up to 20th after qualifying for the European Champions League.

France had two clubs on the list, with 14th-placed Marseille (€150.4 million) and Lyon (€132.8 million) in 17th position.