November 7, 2019

UCL: Bayer Leverkusen delay Atletico’s round of 16 dream with 2-1 win

UCL, Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico Madrid, Volland
Bayer Leverkusen striker, Kevin Volland celebrates his goal against Atletico Madrid, in their UCL Group D tie.

Atletico Madrid could have secured qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League had they won away at Bayer Leverkusen, but they still have work to do as they were beaten 2-1 by the German side on Wednesday night.

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An own goal from Thomas Partey at the end of the first half put the home team ahead at the BayArena, before Kevin Volland netted another at the beginning of the second half. Alvaro Morata’s stoppage-time effort proved to be just a consolation, although it could help Atleti if a head-to-head scenario develops.

Although Diego Simeone unleashed the attacking trio of Angel Correa, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata for this one, Atletico were anything but attacking in the first half. Bayer Leverkusen were better in that opening period and, although they didn’t create too much in the way of clear-cut chances, they didn’t actually have to as Felipe came close to scoring an own goal only to be saved by the crossbar and as Thomas Partey did then head into his own net in bizarre fashion in the 41st minute.

The Spanish side needed to come out much improved for the second half, but they failed to do so and the lead was soon doubled when Volland capitalized on a Mario Hermoso error to double the lead.

Thomas Lemar and Vitolo were sent on by Simeone and Atletico did improve somewhat, with Saul and Morata both having chances before the latter scored a goal in the 75th minute from a Vitolo pass that was ruled out for offside.

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Bayer Leverkusen continually looked dangerous from corners and almost scored a third goal from one in the 77th minute, but the ball didn’t fully cross the line.

Tempers started to flare at this point and four players were booked after a brawl broke out at another German corner, before Nadiem Amiri was shown a straight red for a lunge at Santiago Arias.

Atleti made the most of the man advantage as Morata pulled one goal back in stoppage time and the striker had another opportunity to tie the game, yet Lukas Hradecky came to the rescue to ensure Bayer Leverkusen put their first European points of the season on the board and to leave Atletico stuck on seven points.

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