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Monaco snatch win at qualified Leverkusen

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-1 AS Monaco FC
A 72nd-minute goal from substitute Lucas Ocampos gave the French side a vital Group C victory, although the German hosts were already in the last 16.

Leverkusen 0-1 Monaco: the story in photos ©Getty Images

Substitute Lucas Ocampos scores only goal moments after coming on (72)
Leverkusen already sure of knockout berth prior to kick-off
Monaco must avoid defeat against Zenit to qualify on matchday six
Leverkusen still a point clear in Group C
Next games: Benfica v Leverkusen, Monaco v Zenit (9 December)

AS Monaco FC snatched victory against a dominant Bayer 04 Leverkusen to keep their chances of progressing from UEFA Champions League Group C in their own hands.

The German hosts were already certain of their place in the last 16 thanks to FC Zenit's win against SL Benfica earlier in the day and began with confidence, setting the early pace. However, Monaco had conceded just a single goal in the group stage and limited Leverkusen to efforts from range.

First Hakan Çalhanoğlu's fierce attempt was deflected into the arms of Danijel Subašić before the impressive Wendell struck speculatively over the bar. Hakan remained Leverkusen's danger man, heading on target from a Giulio Donati cross and testing Subašić with a trademark free-kick. It was Lars Bender who came closest in the first half, though, his speed of movement allowing the midfielder to volley goalwards; only the crossbar denied him.

Ömer Toprak threatened from another Hakan delivery, but it was a frustrating opening period for the home side, who no doubt had the reverse fixture – in which they created a hatful of chances only to come away empty-handed – in the back of their minds.

The Leverkusen menace dwindled after the restart as Monaco started to see more of the ball, not entirely unsurprising given the intensity of their pressing.  Substitute Josip Drmić might have provided the antidote when he was sent through by Bender, but he pulled his finish wide of the near post. Hakan then overhit his cross with colleagues waiting unmarked in the centre and from there, the match took an all-too-familiar turn.

Just as on matchday one, Monaco punished their German counterparts for their ineffectiveness. Having barely ventured into the final third all game, Leonardo Jardim's team took the only real opportunity they had, Nabil Dirar crossing for substitute Lucas Ocampos to score two minutes after coming on.

Drmić failed to cap a silky run with the finish that would have levelled things, as Roger Schmidt's men were unable to conjure an equaliser. The three points leaves Monaco in charge of their own destiny heading into their matchday six meeting with Zenit; Leverkusen can still finish top by beating Benfica.

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