Leverkusen and Roma draw 4-4 in Champions League
LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) Bayer Leverkusen squandered an early two-goal lead, then struck twice late in the match to earn a 4-4 draw with Roma in a wild Champions League group match on Tuesday.
Daniele de Rossi scored two goals to cancel out early strikes from Javier ”Chicharito” Hernandez, before Roma took a 4-2 lead on goals from Miralem Pjanic and substitute Iago Falque.
But Kevin Kampl began Leverkusen’s comeback in the 84th and substitute Admir Mehmedi scored two minutes later to salvage the draw.
”At the end, we could have even won 5-4,” Leverkusen’s goalkeeper Bernd Leno said.
Chicharito’s effort in injury time narrowly missed the target.
Leverkusen now has four points in Group E, while Roma is bottom with two points. Barcelona’s 2-0 win at BATE Borisov gave it seven points, with BATE in third with three points.
The hosts stunned Roma by going ahead only four minutes into the match on Chicharito’s penalty, given away by Vasilis Torosidis for handling a cross from Hakan Calhanoglu.
The Mexican doubled the lead in the 19th, after collecting a through ball that left him alone in front of Leno, who blocked Chicharito’s first attempt. But the striker followed through to slot low into the corner.
De Rossi put the visiting team back into the match in the 29th. Leno’s short clearance was headed back across the box by Kostas Manolas and De Rossi chested the ball down before driving home.
The Roma captain tied the match in the 38th, knocking in with his knee a free kick from Pjanic.
Roma was firmly in control after Pjanic put his side ahead in the 54th by curling in a free kick from about 20 meters (yards). Roma earned the free kick although replays showed little contact between Christoph Kramer and Radja Nainggolan.
Pjanic’s shot went over the wall and ended in the upper corner, with Leno stuck on the line. After Falque made it 4-2 in the 73rd, the Italian side appeared to be cruising toward its first group victory until Leverkusen’s late revival.
Falque, who had earlier struck the crossbar with a header, scored after good work from Gervinho, who beat two Leverkusen defenders as he cut inside before passing to the unmarked striker.
But then Kampl fired from the edge of the penalty area and the ball flew over Wojciech Szczesny and hit the crossbar to bounce into the net.
Kampl played a role in the equalizer as well, feeding defender Wendell on the left wing. Wendell sent a pass to the far post for the unmarked Mehmedi to score easily.