Kiessling goal lifts Leverkusen
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-0 Toulouse FC Stefan Kiessling's goal gave Leverkusen a winning start to Group E despite a Toulouse fightback.
Stefan Kiessling's 35th-minute goal gave Bayer 04 Leverkusen a winning start to UEFA Cup Group E despite a second-half fightback from Toulouse FC.
Kiessling put the 1987/88 trophy winners ahead in a game they had dominated up to that point, but the French visitors were transformed after the break and nearly denied Leverkusen victory. Instead, Toulouse will hope for better luck at home to AC Sparta Praha on 8 November, when Leverkusen are at FC Spartak Moskva.
Leverkusen were quickly into their stride and a free-kick from Tranquillo Barnetta was not far off target. Arturo Vidal drilled a set-piece of his own against the wall as the German side continued to dominate, though Toulouse's Achille Emana and Paulo César shot over as the French outfit stirred. But Leverkusen were still having the best chances and Barnetta's corner found Theofanis Gekas who volleyed over from close range.
Sergej Barbarez headed over the bar and Gekas fired wide but, just as the Toulouse goal seemed to be leading a charmed life, the French side finally conceded. Barbarez provided the pass for Kiessling, whose sublime lob looped over goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez. The goalscorer nearly doubled the lead just before the break but headed a Barnetta corner against the crossbar.
The early stages of the second half were cagey but Toulouse almost got back on terms when Albin Ebondo got in a shot, only for René Adler to save. Emana's effort was blocked by Manuel Friedrich as Toulouse tried to force the equaliser while Fodé Mansare fired over. Kiessling also missed two good chances for Leverkusen but as time ran out it was all Toulouse. Karim Haggui blocked a shot from substitute Bryan Bergougnoux and André-Pierre Gignac drilled a free-kick against the wall as the home side held on.