Bayer Leverkusen 0-2 Juventus
A 75th-minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo finished off Juventus’ Champions League Group D campaign with a win while Bayer Leverkusen say goodbye to the competition.
Bayer’s knockout stage hopes were hanging by a thread before kick-off, and they fought for all they were worth in a first half they dominated from start to finish.
But Peter Bosz’s side seemed to have worn themselves out in the second half and submitted to Ronaldo’s late strike. Gonzalo Higuain added a second in injury time to seal Bayer’s fate.
So I Bianconeri finish top of the group by a clear six points and are joined by Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.
Highlights of the game
With all to play for, die Werkself started like a house on fire, and when skipper Lars Bender crossed for Moussa Diaby his left-footed shot flew past the right-hand post.
The BayArena crowd was up for this game, and they roared their team on as Kerem Demirbay took a pot shot from outside the penalty area which whistled narrowly wide.
Then, on 11 minutes, Diaby took a pass from Lucas Alario and his shot cannoned off the left-hand post and away to safety.
Most pre-match Bayer Leverkusen vs Juventus betting tips were favourable to the hosts who were favourites to win at odds of 2.11, and they were certainly playing like the side with a mission. Alario had two headed efforts, one directed just wide and the second blocked by a resolute Juventus defence.
Ronaldo was on target when I Bianconeri beat Bayer 3-0 earlier in the competition, and he had the visitors’ first effort halfway through the first 45, but his effort flew across the face of goal and wide.
A minute later, Juan Cuadrado, who had been sent off during Juve’s loss to Lazio at the weekend, had a fine effort which went narrowly wide.
The best attempt of the half came when Karim Bellarabi found enough space in the penalty area to fire a shot towards the bottom left corner. But Juve’s veteran keeper Gigi Buffon was equal to it, getting down quickly to save.
I Bianconeri came out for the second half with more purpose, maybe with some words from Maurizio Sarri stinging their ears, but Ronaldo was just offside when Federico Bernardeschi put him through on goal.
Much of the wind seemed to have disappeared from die Werkself’s sails and Paulo Dybala came close to putting the visitors ahead midway through the second period. And with 15 minutes remaining, Dybala was the provider, putting a cross on a plate for Ronaldo to fire home.
That was that for Leverkusen and they offered little in the way of an attempted comeback, and even less in the way of resistance when Higuain took a pass from Dybala and fired the ball low into the corner.
With 13 points already in the bag, Juventus were already through to the knockout stages as group winners, and when the Champions League 2019 updates filtered through, the news that Atleti were ahead at half-time was a serious blow to the German side.
Leverkusen totally dominated the first half with 58 per cent possession and 13 shots to three, but they only tested Gigi Buffon the once. But in the second half, they offered very little and nothing to trouble Buffon, while Juventus had two shots on target, both hitting the net.
This loss ended Leverkusen’s unbeaten run of six games in all competitions. They also continued to struggle at the BayArena in European games; they have won just two of their last nine Champions League games at home.
I Bianconeri have finished the group by winning their last five Champions League fixtures, but this was only the second win in six on their travels.
It’s back to domestic football at the weekend so keep it here for all the latest news, updates and SBOBET predictions.
Having lost last week to Lazio, the Old Lady is thanking her lucky stars that Inter missed the chance to pull clear, settling for a draw at home to Roma. Next up, Juventus are at home to Udinese, down in 16th place and with just one win in six.
Leverkusen have an away game to bottom club Cologne, followed by a home game against Hertha Berlin, another struggling team, down in 15th and with just one draw to show for the last six games. Peter Bosz’s team should recover from this setback and improve on its current position of sixth place over the next couple of weeks.
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