Goals from Lucas Alario and Kai Havertz put Bayer Leverkusen ahead in their UEFA Europa League last-32 tie with Porto, courtesy of a 2-1 first-leg win at the BayArena on Thursday night.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Porto
Goals: 1-0 Alario (29’), 2-0 Havertz (pen, 57’), 2-1 Diaz (71’)
There was a Carnival atmosphere at the BayArena, where Leverkusen started the brightest. Die Werkself rattled the bar inside the first 20 minutes as Havertz stormed into the box to meet Nadiem Amiri’s cutback but the Germany international’s fierce left-footed strike cannoned to safety off the woodwork. Camped in the Porto half, Leverkusen got the lead their dominance deserved shortly before the half hour mark. Kerem Demirbay diverted captain Lars Bender’s delightful cross from the right into the path of Alario, who tapped home from close range.
Less than 10 minutes after the restart, Leverkusen had doubled their lead. Kevin Volland’s mesmerising turn had Wilson Manafa in a spin as the Porto defender could only haul his opponent to the floor in the box. Havertz stepped up to score from the resulting penalty spot from the second attempt after his saved first effort was retaken due to encroachment. Porto pulled one back completely against the run of play late on through Luis Diaz, leaving Leverkusen in front but the tie still in the balance ahead of the reverse fixture in Portugal.
- Leverkusen have scored two or more goals in seven of their eight home games against Portuguese opposition to date, winning four of the last five.
- Alario scored four Europa League goals last season as Die Werkself topped Group A before losing to Russia's Krasnodar on away goals in the knockouts. The Argentine has struck a combined eight times in the Bundesliga and DFB Cup this term, but this was his first European goal of the campaign.
- Havertz's previous five goals and two assists had also fallen in domestic football, with the 20-year-old on target in the UEL for the first time in 2019/20 against Porto. He registered three goals and as many assists in last season's competition.
- Volland has netted a team-leading 11 goals and assisted eight in 29 appearances in all competitions for Leverkusen this season. Only one goal has come in Europe, though.
- This was Leverkusen’s first ever competitive meeting with Porto, a side that has never won an away knockout round match in Europe against German opposition (D4, L9).
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c), S. Bender, Tapsoba, Singkraven - Aranguiz (Baumgartlinger 72'), Demirbay - Amiri, Havertz, Volland (Paulinho 90'+4) – Alario (Bailey 80')
Unused subs: Özcan, Tah, Weiser, Palacios
Out: Bellarabi (cold), Diaby (personal reasons), Wendell (unknown)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Porto: Marchesin - Manafa (Nakajima 61'), Mbemba, Marcano (c), Telles - Corona, Uribe, Oliveira, Diaz (Danilo 77') - Marega, Tiquinho (Ze Luis 63')
Unused subs: Costa, Leite, Baro, Ferreira
Out: Otavio (suspended), Pepe (leg)
Coach: Sergio Conceicao
As it happened
Advantage Leverkusen in this last-32 tie!
90'+1 URIBE HEADS WIDE
The midfielder gets into the box and onto the end of a cross but heads wide as we enter four minutes of added time.
80' BAILEY ON
Leon Bailey is sent on to replace goalscorer Lucas Alario for the final 10 minutes. Kevin Volland moves into the centre-forward position.
He went inside to win the penalty, this time Volland goes on the outside and fires off a powerful left-footed effort that Marchesin has to turn around his near post.
73' PORTO GET ONE BACK
Out of nothing really, a free-kick from the right is headed by Ze Luis. It's too close for Hradecky to react, the ball hitting him really and popping up with Luiz Diaz getting there before Alario to bundle over the line.
72' BAUMI ON
Leverkusen make their first change with Julian Baumgartlinger replacing Charles Aranguiz in holding midfield.
Alario has a shot blocked inside the box and wants a penalty. The referee says no and VAR agrees.
Admir Mehmedi has now put the Wolves 2-1 up to Malmo. The Bundesliga clean sweep this week is on.
63' QUICK CHANGES
Sergio Conceicao makes a couple of subs to see if they can make a difference. He sends on winger Shoya Nakajima for full-back Wilson Mafana before Ze Luis replaces Tiquinho in attack.
57' HAVERTZ CONVERTS
No mistake this time from the young German. He goes to the same corner but this time Marchesin goes the other way and Bayer double their lead. A first goal in Europe this season for Havertz, who maintains his 100 per cent penalty record in professional football.
VAR has checked and seen that the goalkeeper was off his line and orders the penalty to be retaken.
It's Havertz to take, stuttering in his run-up. Marchesin guesses correct to his left and saves.
54' PENALTY TO LEVERKUSEN!
This is so, so good from Kevin Volland. He chases down a long ball before spinning Mafana to get into the box and being pulled down by the defender, who's shown a yellow card.
ELSEWHERE IN GERMANY
Josip Brekalo scored for Wolfsburg to cancel out former Leverkusen striker Isaac Kiese Thelin’s penalty for Malmo.
51' PORTO PUSHING
The visitors look to have started this half with a bit more energy. Oliveira has a header comfortably saved by Hradecky after some quick build-up play.
We're back underway at the BayArena. No changes for either side as Leverkusen look to ensure they take an advantage back to Portugal next week. They're also out to defend a record of winning all 34 UEFA Cup/Europa League matches they'd led at half-time.
An excellent first half from Die Werkself as they take a deserved 1-0 lead into the break. Porto seemed to get going right at the end of the half, but it was all Leverkusen until that point, rewarded by that Alario goal.
43' SAVE LUKAS!
This time Hradecky is needed to move as he flies high to his left to deny a swerving half-volley from Uribe. It comes at the expense of Porto's first corner of the game.
40' ALARIO AGAIN
Another free-kick into the box, this time from Amiri. It's Alario who gets his head to it, but only flicks it beyond the far post.
35' HRADECKY INTO ACTION
Sergio Oliveira tests Lukas Hradecky for the first time with an effort from 25 yards, but it's no trouble for the Finn.
29' ALARIO STRIKES!
Lars Bender's cross from the right is flicked on by Demirbay, and Lucas Alario is completely unmarked at the far post to turn home his first European goal of the campaign. There's some confusion afterwards, though, as the referee at first signals for offside after consultation with VAR before changing his decision again to award the goal.
28' BAYER COMFORTABLE
Peter Bosz's side have seen 70% of the ball so far in this game. Any time the visitors have got forward, Edmond Tapsoba has been quick to snuff out any danger
25' CORONA BOOKED
Midfielder Jesus Corona is the first player cautioned as he mistimes a tackle on Volland.
24' AMIRI THROUGH...
The Leverkusen midfielder is in behind but fires over as he opens up his body for the shot. The flag is raised for offside in any case.
17' OFF THE BAR!
Amiri pulls the ball back from the left, perfectly into the path of Havertz storming into the box. His effort beats Marchesin but not the crossbar. Demirbay then has a shot blocked on the rebound. Inches away for Die Werkself.
11' ALARIO HEADS
A first sight of goal as Lucas Alario gets head head to Kerem Demirbay's free-kick. He tries to flick it beyond Augustin Marchesin but the Porto goalkeeper has no trouble collecting the ball.
6' PARTY TIME
It is of course the first day of Carnival in these parts. No surprise then that there's plenty of fancy dress on display in the BayArena tonight. A first-leg win will make their post-game celebrations even sweeter.
After a minute's silence for the victims of the shooting in Hanau today, this last-32 first leg is underway at the BayArena, where there are also plenty of signs in the crowd in support of Porto's Moussa Marega, who was the victim of racial abuse against Vitoria on Sunday.
CAN LEVERKUSEN CONTINUE THE CLEAN SWEEP?
Three Bundesliga teams have been in European action this week, all have won. Dortmund beat PSG 2-1, Leipzig won 1-0 at Tottenham and Frankfurt have just comfortably beaten Salzburg 4-1. Now it's over to Die Werkself to continue the Bundesliga's continental dominance. Wolfsburg are also in action against Malmo at the same time, too.
TWO FROM PORTO
The visitors won 2-1 at Vitoria Guimaraes on Sunday. In come Wilson Manafa and Tiquinho; Out go the suspended Otavio and Ze Luis. Three-time Champions League winner Pepe is out with a leg injury.
FOUR BAYER CHANGES
Peter Bosz brings in four new faces from the side that started Saturday’s 3-2 win at Union Berlin. Daley Sinkgraven, Charles Aranguiz, Kerem Demirbay and Lucas Alario all come in. Jonathan Tah, Mitchell Weiser and Leon Bailey drop to the bench. Wendell misses out altogether, while Karim Bellarabi has a cold and Moussa Diaby has returned to France for the birth of his child.