Leverkusen - Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez netted a first-half brace as Bayer 04 Leverkusen played out a thrilling 4-4 draw with AS Roma at the BayArena in UEFA Champions League Group E on Tuesday night.
Goals: 1-0 Hernandez (pen. 4’), 2-0 Hernandez (19’), 2-1 De Rossi (29’), 2-2 De Rossi (38’), 2-3 Pjanic (54’), 2-4 Falque (73’), 3-4 Kampl (84’), 4-4 Mehmedi (86’)
Intending to rectify recent shortcomings in front of goal, Leverkusen began at full throttle and deservedly went ahead in the fourth minute when Hernandez coolly sent Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way from the spot. After 15 further minutes of dominance from the hosts, the Mexican then doubled his tally, finishing calmly at the second attempt from Hakan Calhanoglu’s through-ball.
Rattled by Leverkusen’s early pressing, Roma began to gain a foothold in midfield through Daniele De Rossi and Miralem Pjanic after the hosts’ second, however. De Rossi pulled one back from close range in the 29th minute, before finding himself unmarked in the six-yard box nine minutes later, ungainly prodding past Bernd Leno to send the sides into the break level.
The visitors emerged from the interval full of attacking verve and took the lead for the first time eight minutes into the second period when Pjanic bent in a superb free-kick. The Italians looked out of sight when Iago Falque rounded off a flowing counter-attack in the 73rd minute, but dramatic late strikes from Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi secured die Werkself a crucial point.
Man of the match
Hernandez’s early brace got his side off to the perfect start, and he can bear no blame for Roma’s goals. The Mexican international was sharp and was full of running throughout, and played a key role in the late drama to help rescue his side a dramatic share of the spoils.
Brilliant in the first 25 minutes, Leverkusen faded worryingly after going two goals to the good and almost paid dearly for it. However, Roger Schmidt will be delighted with his side's late response, and with Hernandez after his first brace for the club.
- This was Hernandez’s first double in a Leverkusen shirt.
- Admir Mehmedi also found the net against Roma’s city rivals, SS Lazio, in the Champions League play-off.
- The point means Leverkusen sit second in Group E, but face a tricky trip to Rome in two weeks time.
Leverkusen:Leno - Donati, Tah, Papadopoulos, Wendell – Kramer (Brandt, 66’), Toprak (Yurchenko, 79’) – Kampl, Calhanoglu, Bellarabi (Mehmedi, 56’) – Hernandez
Roma: Szczesny – Torosidis, Rüdiger, Manolas, Digne – Florenzi, Nainggolan, De Rossi, Pjanic – Salah (Falque, 62’), Gervinho (Dzeko, 85’)