Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Atletico Madrid: Late goals inflict more misery on Atleti
Bayer Leverkusen scored twice in the last seven minutes to condemn Atletico Madrid to a 2-0 defeat in the Champions League.
A scrappy clash at the BayArena appeared to be heading for a stalemate until Robert Andrich broke the deadlock when he swept past Ivo Grbic.
And Moussa Diaby then rounded off a quickfire counter to secure Leverkusen’s first points on the board in Group B on Tuesday.
There were familiar frustrations for Atletico, who have now lost seven of their last eight Champions League away matches in Germany despite facing a Leverkusen side who had been beaten in six of their first eight games in all competitions this season.
Leverkusen went close to a seventh-minute opener when Andrich fired over from Diaby's lay-off, before Atletico squandered a great opportunity to break the deadlock midway through the first half as Mario Hermoso somehow blazed over from four yards out after Edmond Tapsoba had seemingly handled in the area, with no penalty awarded.
The woodwork came to Atletico's rescue twice in quick succession early in the second half as Patrik Schick rattled the crossbar and Adam Hlozek headed the rebound against the post.
Lukas Hradecky tipped over Rodrigo de Paul's dipping 20-yard shot, but Leverkusen continued to create chances and a brilliant last-ditch Felipe intervention denied Schick after he had rounded Grbic.
Odilon Kossounou worked the frame of the goal again from the resulting corner, yet the goals belatedly followed from a pair of Jeremie Frimpong assists – the first a relatively simple square pass to Andrich and the second a sweeping ball that found Diaby on the run.
What does it mean? Lift-off for Leverkusen
Gerardo Seaone's side are up and running in this season's Champions League after a late, late show at the BayArena. This was only a second win of the campaign across all competitions.
Atletico could not keep Leverkusen at bay and have now kept just one clean sheet in 22 away matches in Germany – that coming 60 years ago.
Frimpong inspires Leverkusen
Replacing Hlozek in the 69th minute, Frimpong made a crucial contribution towards Leverkusen's late surge, assisting both goals.
After his neat lay-off for Andrich to break the deadlock, the substitute demonstrated tremendous vision to pick out Diaby at the far post for the match-clinching second goal. Those were the only chances Frimpong created in his time on the pitch.
The wait goes on for Schick
Schick was on the pitch for both Leverkusen goals but is still waiting on his first in the competition after his 16th appearance.
That barren run includes 32 shots, of which a game-high five came in this match. Four were blocked, but Schick may rue the fifth that struck the crossbar.
Key Opta Facts
– Atletico have now lost four of their last six group-stage games in the Champions League (W2), as many defeats as in their previous 24 such games (W11 D9).
– Diego Simeone has now lost three Champions League games against Leverkusen, his joint-most against a single opponent in the competition along with Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
– Frimpong is the first player to provide two assists for Leverkusen in a Champions League game since Hakan Calhanoglu did so against Zenit in October 2014.
– Atletico started without goalkeeper Jan Oblak in a Champions League game for the first time in 48 matches since February 2017, when Miguel Angel Moya started in a last-16 tie also away to Leverkusen.
Atletico must quickly forget about this result as they welcome rivals Real Madrid for a huge LaLiga derby on Sunday. Leverkusen host Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.