Robert Andrich and Moussa Diaby scored late on for Bayer Leverkusen to steal all three points against Atletico Madrid in Champions League Group B.
Bayer Leverkusen looked the better side going forward in the opening 45 minutes and most likely to open the scoring.
Chelsea loanee Callum Hudson-Odoi was in threatening form as he regularly picked the ball up and cut inside as he tried to make things happen.
The majority of Leverkusen crosses were delivered aerially into the box towards the head of the dominant Patrik Schick, but the Czech struggled to get good connections on the ball.
Atleti had two strong penalty shouts in the first-half and were unlucky not to be awarded at least one spot-kick. Firstly when Alvaro Morata was nudged over from behind by Kerem Demirbay but Michael Oliver waved on, before Edmond Tapsoba seemed to handle a ball headed on from a dangerous Joao Felix cross, but no further action was needed after a quick VAR check.
Schick came close to finding an opening at the start of the first half when he hit the bar from ten yards out and then with all of the goal to aim at, headed the follow-up onto the post.
The Czech international was presented with another opportunity midway through the second half, but he was denied by an excellent last-ditch Felipe challenge.
With a little over five minutes to play, Andrich steered an effort beyond Ivo Grbic to break the deadlock, before Diaby sealed the win with a counter-attacking second.
TALKING POINT – LEVERKUSEN HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO UNLOCK SCHICK
Leverkusen could raise a few eyebrows and reach the latter stages of the tournament this season if they can find a way to get striker Schick in the goals. Leverkusen played some great football and the Czech international caused a lot of problems for a tough Madrid defence, but struggled to get any change out of Diego Simeone’s famously dogged back three.
Despite missing a bit of a sitter in the early stages of the second half before being denied by a fantastic Felipe challenge, Schick could have done with some better service as Leverkusen let themselves down in the final third at times.
Schick became frustrated and began coming deep to collect the ball to drive at the opponent and try to make things happen, but with his height and dominance, he should be in and around the danger zone.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – JEREMIE FRIMPONG (LEVERKUSEN)
He came on with 20 minutes to go and unlocked all three points for the hosts. Leverkusen looked good going forward all game, but were missing that crucial piece of the jigsaw in the final third. Frimpong’s introduction fixed that.
He provided both assists for the goals to help Leverkusen register their first points of the campaign. Not a bad cameo for the 21-year-old right-back.
LEVERKUSEN: Hradecky 7, Kossounou 7, Tah 6, Tapsoba 6, Hincapie 6, Diaby 7, Andrich 8, Demirbay 7, Hudson-Odoi 7, Hlozek 7, Schick 8. Subs: Frimpong 8, Bakker N/A, Amiri N/A, Aranguiz N/A, Azmoun N/A
MADRID: Grbic 6, Molina 5, Felipe 7, Witsel 6, Hermoso 6, Reinildo 5, Llorente 6, Koke 5, Saul 4, Morata 4, Felix 5. Subs: Rodrigo De Paul 6, Carrasco 5, Greizmann 5, Cunha 5, Correa 5.
21’ – MADRID WANT A PENALTY! The ball is whipped in by Felix and it strikes the arm of Tapsoba. VAR called into action.
23’ – NO PENALTY! The VAR check is complete, and Michael Oliver says no penalty. Leverkusen get away with one, because that looked stonewall.
49’ – OFF THE BAR, THEN OFF THE POST! How unlucky can you get? Schick couldn’t come closer to opening the scoring for Leverkusen. He hits the bar from ten yards out, and with all of the goal to aim at with the follow-up, heads onto the post.
71’ – ANOTHER CHANCE SCHICK, BUT IT’S A GREAT CHALLENGE BY FELIPE – You expected the net to bulge then! Felipe makes a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Schick what surely would have been a certain goal.
84’ – GOAL! LEVERKUSEN 1-0 MADRID (ANDRICH) – Frimpong does brilliantly to find Andrich on the edge of the box, who steers an effort beyond Grbic!
87’ – GOAL! LEVERKUSEN 2-0 MADRID (DIABY) – Diaby grabs a second, and that surely seals the win for the hosts!