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Vidal strikes late for Leverkusen against Aris

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-0 Aris Thessaloniki FC
Arturo Vidal's last-minute strike kept Leverkusen top of Group B as Aris fell three points adrift of second place.

Vidal strikes late for Leverkusen against Aris
Vidal strikes late for Leverkusen against Aris ©UEFA.com

Bayer 04 Leverkusen had Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal to thank for a last-minute goal that secured victory against Aris Thessaloniki FC and kept the German side top of UEFA Europa League Group B.

Leverkusen found it tough against an Aris side who maintained their shape throughout and created the better of the chances. However, Vidal's late winner ensured Leverkusen remain a point clear of Club Atlético de Madrid and victory at Rosenborg BK on 1 December would take Jupp Heynckes's side through.

Aris coach Héctor Cúper saw no reason to make changes to the side that held Leverkusen 0-0 a fortnight ago, and true to form the hosts were at a loss in breaking down their opponents in the first half. Indeed it was the Greek visitors who looked the more incisive early on, Leverkusen keeper René Adler having to be alert first to claim a low Michel cross and then to tip over Toni Calvo's audacious chip.

Though Leverkusen came closest to opening the scoring when Vidal rattled the bar with a whizzing left-foot strike, Aris remained untroubled at the back and would have led at the break but for Adler's superb save to deny Juan Carlos Toja's excellent half-volley. The visitors threatened twice again after the restart, but both Javito and substitute Deividas Česnauskis were foiled by Adler when clean through.

Leverkusen brought on Eren Derdiyok, Simon Rolfes and Tranquillo Barnetta in the hope of upping the tempo, the latter forcing a save from Aris custodian Michalis Sifakis. Javito blazed over for the visitors with a quarter of an hour remaining, and was left to rue that miss as Vidal bundled in from Sidney Sam's centre at the death. Aris are three points behind second-placed Atlético and cannot afford to lose to the holders on Matchday 5.

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