Bayer hold on to topple Zenit; Atletico trample Malmo in Champions League
Bayer Leverkusen boosted their hopes of advancing from Champions League Group C on Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory over previously unbeaten Zenit St Petersburg.
Second-half goals from Giulio Donati and Kyriakos Papadopoulos secured the points for Roger Schmidt's side and helped them move top of the pool, with Monaco and Benfica battling out a goalless draw.
Wendell was sent off for a second bookable offence 11 minutes from time, but the visitors could not capitalise on the extra man.
The result marked a rare loss on Andre Villas-Boas' team, who had headed to the BayArena boasting four points from their first two Champions League games and undefeated in 10 in the Russian top flight.
There were few clear-cut chances in a cagey first half. Leverkusen looked the more likely, but the sides largely cancelled each other out.
Danny's early attempt was comfortably caught by Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno, while Wendell saw a left-footed attempt blocked by Zenit stopper Yuri Lodygin.
Lodygin did well five minutes before the interval to deny Heung-Min Son with his feet, and Aleksandr Aniukov lashed wide for the visitors from close range, but there was to be no first-half breakthrough.
That all changed soon after the interval, though, as two goals in six minutes around the hour mark turned the game in Leverkusen's favour.
Wendell dispossessed Hulk on the edge of the Leverkusen area and, after a lightning counter-attack, Hakan Calhanoglu teed up Donati to drill home a fine right-footed shot. Lodygin got his fingers to the ball but was unable to prevent it nestling in the bottom-left corner of his net.
Before Zenit could regroup they found themselves two down.
Again, Calhanoglu was the provider, his free-kick from the right whipped in for Papadopoulos to head powerfully past a helpless Lodygin.
Having been booked early in the second period for a foul on Hulk, Wendell was given his marching orders in the 79th minute for a handball offence.
Hulk had half a chance in stoppage time to pull one back for Zenit, but Leno was more than equal to his 25-yard attempt as 10-man Leverkusen comfortably held on.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid overcame a sluggish start to score five second-half goals in a 5-0 rout of Malmo and move top of Group A in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Atletico lacked accuracy in its first-half corners, something that visibly exasperated coach Diego Simeone after a chance went wide in the 44th minute.
Whatever Simeone said at halftime clearly had an effect as Atletico returned with real determination.
Jorge ''Koke'' Resurreccion turned home Arda Turan's threaded cross in the 48th, opening the floodgates.
Mario Mandzukic made it 2-0 in the 61st, Antoine Griezmann found the net two minutes later and Diego Godin headed home in the 87th before Alessio Cerci scored in injury time.
Atletico has six points and leads Olympiakos on goal difference. Juventus and Malmo have three points each.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.