Leverkusen leave it late in eight-goal thriller
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Leverkusen 4-4 Roma
Goals in the final seven minutes from Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi gave the home side an unlikely point in a pulsating contest.
Article top media content
- Bayer and Roma equal UEFA Champions League highest-scoring draw in remarkable contest
- Javier Hernández gives Leverkusen early lead (4) and then doubles advantage (19)
- Two Daniele De Rossi goals (29, 38) bring Roma level before half-time
- Miralem Pjanić and Iago Falqué put Roma 4-2 up; Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi rescue point
- The teams meet again at the Stadio Olimpico on 4 November
A late Admir Mehmedi goal earned Bayer Leverkusen a sensational draw with Roma, who had come from two goals down to lead 4-2 with six minutes remaining, equalling the highest scoring draw in UEFA Champions League history.
In a typically lively start to a match at the BayArena, Roma's Vasilis Torosidis handled the ball inside the penalty area after just three minutes. Javier Hernández needed no second invitation, making no mistake with the resulting spot kick.
The Mexican doubled his tally moments later after latching on to Hakan Çalhanoğlu's precise pass. Hernández was denied by Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny on his first attempt, but the 27-year-old collected the rebound and side-footed into an empty net.
Roma had barely threatened up to that point, but they were thrown an unlikely lifeline when skipper Daniele De Rossi prodded in after Leverkusen failed to clear a corner. Buoyed, the visitors went into the break on level terms after De Rossi forced in Miralem Pjanić's free-kick on 39 minutes.
The start to the second half was not quite as frenetic as the first, although within nine minutes the visitors were in front. After Christoph Kramer had conceded a foul on Radja Nainggolan, Pjanić stepped up and curled an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner.
After dominating the opening stages, Leverkusen suddenly and inexplicably looked short of ideas. Julian Brandt did force Szczęsny into a smart save but instead the next goal went to visitors, a swift breakaway allowing Gervinho to set up Iago Falqué and seemingly settle matters.
That came with 17 minutes left; with six minutes to go, Leverkusen's hopes flickered when Kevin Kampl found the top corner from the edge of the box. Two minutes later, Mehmedi turned in Wendell's low cross to earn his side a share of the spoils from the most pulsating of matches, and marking the third 4-4 draw in UEFA Champions League history, after Hamburg-Juventus (2000) and Chelsea-Liverpool (2009).
Key player: Miralem Pjanić
There were plenty of contenders, but had it not been for Pjanić the visitors may well have left the BayArena empty handed. The 25-year-old was involved in both De Rossi's goals and scored himself in a hugely influential display.
Pjanić wins set-piece duel
With two wonderfully talented dead-ball specialists in Çalhanoğlu and Pjanić, you would have got good money on one of them finding the back of the net from a free-kick in this game. The latter duly obliged, finding the top corner with a textbook effort to put Roma 3-2 up.
Leverkusen self destruct
Not for the first time this season, Roger Schmidt's team had difficulty with set-pieces. They failed to deal with a corner for De Rossi's first goal, before leaving the veteran midfielder unmarked to score his second. The Werkself will have to do better if they harbour serious ambitions of reaching the latter stages.