AS Roma feel they ‘lost two points’ and Leverkusen think ‘we can’t be too happy’ in wild affair
Javier Hernandez’s double had put Leverkusen ahead after just 20 minutes, but Roma drew level before half time as Daniele De Rossi struck twice, before the Italians scored twice more through Miralem Pjanic and Iago Falque to seemingly secure victory in the second half.
However, two Leverkusen goals in the last 10 minutes from Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi capped off an exhilarating game and secured the Germans a dramatic share of the spoils.
“We lost two points here and we clearly deserved to win,” said Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
“We had picked ourselves up after going two goals behind. I can’t explain what happened at the end,” added defender Antonio Rudiger.
“Perhaps we were just shocked by Leverkusen’s third goal.”
The result was another disappointment for Roma. After defeat to Bate Borisov earlier this month, they now sit bottom of Group E.
The group remains wide open, however, with just one point separating Leverkusen, Borisov and Roma underneath leaders Barcelona.
Leverkusen took the lead from the penalty spot with only four minutes played. A Hakan Calhanoglu cross struck Vassilis Torisidis’s trailing hand, and Hernandez converted the resulting penalty.
The Mexico international doubled the lead in the 19th minute. Free in the box after a defensive mistake from Lucas Digne, Hernandez’s first shot was saved by Wojciech Szczesny, but he coolly slotted home the rebound.
But Roma were gifted a goal in the 30th minute. After Bernd Leno failed to properly clear a corner, De Rossi was left unmarked six yards from goal and the Roma captain toe-poked the ball in to make it 2-1.
The goal sparked Roma into life, and they were rewarded for sustained pressure in the 38th minute. De Rossi was left unmarked again at a free kick from Pjanic, and he equalised from close range.
With Roma dominating the early stages of the second half, Gervinho broke through the Leverkusen defence in the 53rd minute, only to be denied by a smart save from Leno.
“We can’t be too happy with the way we played”, said Leno after the game.
“You can see what happens when we leave too many gaps in our defence.”
The Italian club completed the turnaround just one minute later. Pjanic showed his set piece quality once more, placing a free kick into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.
Leverkusen struggled to find a route back into the game despite a short resurgence immediately after the goal.
With 17 minutes to play, Roma hit on the counter attack, Gervinho linking up with the substitute Falque, who made it 4-2.
The game looked over until the 84th minute, when Kampl suddenly curled in a beautiful strike from outside the penalty area.
Just two minutes later, the ball passed from Kampl, via Wendell to Mehmedi, who put it in the net from close range.
Hernandez could have won the game in stoppage time as Leverkusen struck on the counter attack, but his shot flew inches wide of the post.
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Published: October 21, 2015 04:00 AM