Leno and Leverkusen resist Shakhtar advances
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Leverkusen remain well-placed in second position in Group A following a goalless draw in which their goalkeeper Bernd Leno excelled.
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Bayer 04 Leverkusen consolidated second position in UEFA Champions League Group A with a goalless draw at FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
Two points clear of their third-placed opponents at the start of play, Leverkusen had their goalkeeper Bernd Leno to thank for going into the break on level terms following a busy opening 45 minutes. The 21-year-old was pressed into action six times in the first half, saving most impressively when he acrobatically kept out Facundo Ferreyra's attempt.
He was less of a central figure after the restart as the Werkself made inroads of their own without ever forcing the breakthrough that would have lifted them above Manchester United FC and to the top of the section.
After a nervy, scrappy start, it was Shakhtar who gradually began to win the territorial battle. Leno was called upon for the first time on eight minutes, gathering Ferreyra's shot after the visiting defence had failed to intercept a cross from the marauding Darijo Srna.
The same players soon combined again, with Ferreyra, making his first start in Europe's premier club competition, sticking out a boot to turn Srna's centre towards goal. Leno, leaping to his left, turned the ball around the upright.
Under pressure, Leverkusen replied through Sidney Sam, who placed the Bundesliga team's best opening of the first period wide from a position on the edge of the penalty area. Back came the Pitmen, though, and Srna, pushing on from right-back, delivered a cross that rebounded off the far post and away to safety.
Shakhtar's energetic pressing game, which was pinning Sami Hyypiä's charges inside their half, resulted in two more sights of goal before the interval, with Leno showing his dexterity to keep out Bernard's curling effort and then instinctively flicking out an arm to divert Yaroslav Rakitskiy's close-range volley over the crossbar.
Two minutes of the second half had elapsed when the German Under-21 international was at it again, diving low to his right to parry Srna's free-kick. Hitherto untested, Shakhtar No1 Andriy Pyatov responded in kind with a superb stop from Son Heung-Min's strike, before Ferreyra, with a clear sight of goal and the ball sitting up invitingly, fired over.
Like the first period, Sam was on the end of Leverkusen's most significant opening of the second half. Receiving the ball after Lars Bender won a header on the edge of the box, Sam's volley on the turn from eight metres possessed neither the power nor the direction to trouble Pyatov. When Luiz Adriano nodded down and into the arms of the grateful Leno in added time, the Ukrainian title holders' chances of victory had gone.