Champions League

Leverkusen leave Spurs' European dream in tatters

Goal (AFP)
Goal (AFP)

Cape Town - Bayer Leverkusen kept their UEFA Champions League hopes alive as they edged Tottenham 1-0 at Wembley on Wednesday evening.

It was all Leverkusen in the opening exchanges ahead of a Christian Eriksen free-kick that was well collected by away stopper Bernd Leno, for the first real chance of the tie.

Leverkusen then broke well through Javier Hernandez on 16 minutes, but after getting in behind the Spurs defence, his cut-back pass was intercepted by Kyle Walker.

At the other end, Deli Alli fed Moussa Sissoko with a good ball over the defence, but after driving into the box he was denied by Leno, who needed a defender to complete the clearance.

An early injury to Moussa Dembele saw Vincent Janssen introduced on 32 minutes as Eriksen forced Leno to punch clear after the Spurs midfielder had carried the ball a long way before getting his shot away on the edge of the box.

The best chance of the opening 45 minutes though fell to the Bundesliga outfit after a mistake from Walker. The right-back gifted the ball to Julian Brandt, who may well have scored except for a great tackle from Jan Vertonghen before the Belgian defender, while still on the ground, deflected the follow-up shot from Hernandez wide of goal.

Both teams were looking good in possession, but a combination of some poor final passes and excellent defending ensured they went into the half-time break at level pegging.

Alli should have had a penalty at the start of the second half after being fouled by Omer Toprak before Eriksen fired just wide of the left-hand upright after the referee had waved play on.

A 55th-minute long-range effort from Eriksen failed to trouble Leno while Janssen could only fire wide after some good approach play from Spurs three minutes later.

Walker then fired agonisingly wide of the left post after driving into the Leverkusen box from deep.

Hugo Lloris made a desperate save from Hernandez after the Mexican's initial strike hit Vertonghen, after Ben Davies had casually conceded possession.

Kampl then fired Leverkusen into the lead with 65 minutes played as he snuck in behind the Spurs defence as a shot from Charles Aranguiz from the edge of the box took two deflections before falling kindly into his path, leaving him with a simple finish past Lloris.

Spurs were doing their best to gift Leverkusen a second goal as they conceded possession in and around their own penalty box, but got enough numbers back to crowd out the creative play of the visitors on more than one occasion.

Davies then denied Hernandez with a block from the edge of the area as Toprak headed a 80th-minute corner onto the roof of the Spurs goal.

And Dier smashed an 83rd-minute free-kick onto the crossbar after Allie was fouled on the edge of the area, before Davies pulled a shot from the left-hand side wide right of the target, on an otherwise unforgettable night for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

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