Son at the double for Leverkusen at Zenit

FC Zenit 1-2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Roger Schmidt's men strengthened their hand at the top of Group C thanks to two second-half goals from Son Heung-Min.

Son on 'special' night
Son on 'special' night

After a goalless first half, Son Heung-Min scores twice for Leverkusen
The 22-year-old trebles his number of UEFA Champions League goals to three
Substitute José Rondón halves Zenit's arrears with a minute remaining
Leaders Leverkusen move five points clear of their third-placed hosts
Next games: Zenit v Benfica, Leverkusen v Monaco (26 November)

Son Heung-Min scored twice, his first following a well-worked free-kick, in the second half as Bayer 04 Leverkusen strengthened their position atop UEFA Champions League Group C.

Having taken the lead early on in their top-of-the-table encounter with PFC CSKA Moskva on Saturday, Zenit almost repeated the feat from the left foot of Hulk, who delivered a set piece from deep on the right that evaded everyone before striking the far post.

If Bernd Leno was statuesque on that occasion he came off his line midway through the first half to thwart Aleksandr Kerzhakov and keep Leverkusen on level terms. Danny was the creator, threading a ball in behind the Werkself defence for the Russian international to chase, and two minutes later he freed the striker again only for Leno to narrow the angle and restrict him to a shot into the side netting.

Zenit sensed a breakthrough, but Leverkusen always carried a threat on the counterattack, even if Yuri Lodygin was hardly overextended during a first half in which lone frontman Stefan Kiessling was a peripheral figure.

However, the Bundesliga team immediately took the fight to their opponents in the second period, with Leno, having gathered a corner, initiating a break that culminated in Son, with options either side of him, blazing high and wide.

Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt made his intentions clear by replacing Julian Brandt, who had been playing in behind Kiessling, with Josip Drmić, but the Switzerland forward's involvement was limited as proceedings became increasingly bitty.

The game was crying out for a moment of ingenuity and Son provided it with 68 minutes on the clock, delightfully finishing off a free-kick clearly honed on the training ground. Hakan Çalhanoğlu played it short to Karim Bellarabi, who laid the ball off to the 22-year-old. Son's strike, a curling effort from outside the area, was beyond Lodygin's reach.

The points were sealed five minutes later, with Son succeeding where Kerzhakov failed in the first half when through on goal. Racing onto Kiessling's defence-splitting pass, the former Hamburger SV man kept his cool to place a shot past Lodygin.

José Rondón offered Zenit hope with 60 seconds remaining, volleying in after a neat give-and-go with fellow substitute Aleksandr Ryazantsev on the edge of the box, but it was too little, too late for the Russian Premier League leaders.

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