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Bayer Leverkusen v Atlético Madrid Live Commentary, 14/09/2022

FT
2 - 0
LEV
ATM
R. Andrich (84)
M. Diaby (87)
BayArena

Commentary

That's all from the BayArena today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
While Leverkusen will take some much-needed confidence from today's result into their Bundesliga clash with Werder Bremen at the weekend, Atletico must refocus in time to face their mighty arch-rivals, the reigning champions of Europe, Real Madrid. These sides also meet each other again next month, in the Spanish capital.
Turning pre-match form on its head, Leverkusen get their Champions League campaign up and running with a deserved victory at home to in-form Atletico Madrid - but it took a long time to finally break through the visitors' defensive wall. Once Andrich drove home the opening goal on 84 minutes, the second followed soon after, with substitute Frimpong instrumental in the creation of both. Atleti, then, are still seeking consecutive wins in the group stage for the first time since October 2019, but it is still early days in a finely-poised Group B.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: BAYER LEVERKUSEN 2-0 ATLETICO MADRID
90' + 3' Resigned to their fate, Atletico attempt what could be one last raid on the Leverkusen area, but it falters at the first attempt.
N. Amiri
C. Hudson-Odoi
Bayer Leverkusen
90' + 1' The hosts' final change sees Hudson-Odoi make way for Amiri.
S. Azmoun
M. Diaby
Bayer Leverkusen
89' Azmoun is offered a brief run-out, replacing goalscorer Diaby.
M. Bakker
E. Tapsoba
Bayer Leverkusen
89' Tapsoba makes way for Bakker in the Leverkusen defence.
C. Aránguiz
P. Schick
Bayer Leverkusen
89' Seoane moves quickly to shore things up and protect his team's two-goal lead: Aranguiz is on for Schick.
J. Frimpong
Assist
Bayer Leverkusen
87' Frimpong posts his second assist in short order, and this time he picks out Diaby on the left side of the area with a cross.
M. Diaby
Goal
Bayer Leverkusen
87' LEVERKUSEN WIN IT! That's it, Die Werkself have sealed the deal! Diaby stays calm to stroke the ball into the net at the back post, following another excellent run and cross from Frimpong. His arrival from the bench has made all the difference: 2-0 to Leverkusen and game over!
J. Frimpong
Assist
Bayer Leverkusen
84' A committed run and cool head under pressure saw Frimpong check back on the edge of the area and play in Andrich to strike.
R. Andrich
Goal
Bayer Leverkusen
84' LEVERKUSEN LEAD! Hudson-Odoi releases Frimpong down the right with a lofted ball, and the full-back's precise pass picks out Andrich in the centre. He has little time to let fly before being closed down by Felipe, but the midfielder steers a superb finish into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box! On balance, the home side deserve to go in front, and they now lead 1-0 with only a few minutes left on the clock!
81' Frustrated by his inability to beat Hincapie to a loose ball by the corner flag, Hermoso barges his opponent over and concedes a free-kick. That relieves the pressure on Leverkusen.
79' Having been handed an excellent set-piece opportunity 30 yards out in a central area, Carrasco completely wastes the free-kick with an awful ball into the box, which nearly hits the byline on its way out of play.
R. Andrich
Yellow Card
Bayer Leverkusen
77' With a rather desperate tired challenge, Andrich brings down fresh-legged substitute Correa and is shown a yellow card.
75' After a brief spell on the ropes, Leverkusen are back in the ascendancy, as all 10 outfield players are camped inside the Atletico half. They think victory is within their grasp, and it could be if they can just convert one of their chances.
Á. Correa
João Félix
Atlético Madrid
73' Joao Felix also makes way, as Correa is given 20 minutes or so to make a decisive impact.
Matheus Cunha
Álvaro Morata
Atlético Madrid
73' Morata is the latest man taken off by Simeone, and Cunha replaces him up front.
72' OFF THE POST! Almost turning the ball home with his backside, Kossounou sprints to the near post and connects with a low cross, but it clips the woodwork and only ripples the side-netting!
70' CLOSE! A long, high ball causes havoc in the Atletico box, as Witsel and Hermoso both fail to clear, then Schick picks up the ball and sees his attempt blocked near the left-hand post by Felipe. That's a corner for Leverkusen, but it could have been so much more!
J. Frimpong
A. Hložek
Bayer Leverkusen
69' Seoane has apparently reacted to the sudden switch in momentum, as he replaces Hlozek with the fresh legs of Frimpong.
67' SAVE! It's all Atleti now, as Griezmann and Carrasco are involved in the build-up, and De Paul curls a shot towards the top of Leverkusen's goal. Hradecky has to tip it over for a corner.
65' Almost instantly, the Atletico replacements have added some zip to their team's attacking efforts. At the end of a quick move into the final third, Joao Felix receives the ball on the edge of the box before turning and firing a low shot well wide.
A. Griezmann
N. Molina
Atlético Madrid
62' Simeone switches things up in attack, as Molina makes way for specialist substitute Griezmann.
Y. Carrasco
Reinildo
Atlético Madrid
62' Carrasco comes on for Reinildo, to give the visitors fresh impetus on the left flank.
61' As Atleti prepare to send a free-kick into the box from the left, Simeone has readied two more substitutes for the fray.
59' There is no doubt that Leverkusen are on top now, but they have yet to force the first goal - despite striking the woodwork twice, when they really should have scored. Will they end up regretting such profligacy at the final whistle?
57' Schick elects to turn back towards his team-mates in the centre rather than shoot at goal from the right, and Demirbay allows the ball to run across to his right foot before driving it straight at the first black-shirted defender in front of him.
54' Atletico win their first corner of the match, but they cannot make anything of it from De Paul's delivery, and Leverkusen clear their lines without too much trouble.
52' A rare attack by Atletico ends with Hermoso stretching to cut the ball back from the byline, but Hradecky comfortably claims it under no pressure inside his six-yard box.
50' Leverkusen contiue to push on in pursuit of the opening goal, as Demirbay has a header from the left side of the six-yard box saved in the centre of the goal by Grbic.
48' OFF THE BAR! Incredibly, Schick fails to open his Champions League account yet again, as he strikes the crossbar from close range after Diaby had stolen the ball deep inside the final third! Then, on the follow-up, Hlozek sees a shot clip the post! Atleti survive - but how!?
R. De Paul
Saúl
Atlético Madrid
46' Saul makes way for De Paul in the Atleti midfield following the half-time break.
46' We are back under way at the BayArena, and the visitors have made a half-time change.
Bayer Leverkusen have won just four of their last 20 Champions League matches - losing five of their last seven - and star striker Schick still remains goalless in all 15-and-a-half of his appearances in the competition; failing with 29 shots after missing twice more today. Can the big striker now end his drought and help his team to a rare win?
Though the home side have offered the greater goal threat, but only by a slim margin, this Group B contest is finely poised with 45 minutes remaining. Leverkusen have occasionally caused problems with crosses and are clearly not afraid to shoot from range, but Atletico have kept them at bay with a typically disciplined display. Will the visitors open up a little more in the second half, capitalising on their hosts' confidence being so brittle? Perhaps during 'Griezmann-time', in the final half-hour.
45' + 3' HALF-TIME: BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0-0 ATLETICO MADRID
45' + 1' In the first of two additional minutes indicated for stoppages, both coaches stalk the touchline looking pretty pensive. This game is very much in the balance, and their interventions at the interval could make all the difference.
44' At the second attempt, Grbic grabs the ball from a slightly mishit low shot by Diaby, who took aim from 20 yards out on the right. Schick was lurking, but the goalkeeper managed to avert a potentially expensive error.
42' Without being unduly concerned by their hosts' attempts to break through, Atletico have dropped even deeper over the past few minutes, and they are apparently just settling in to keep it goalless until half-time.
40' Tah continues to struggle with Joao Felix, and has a few grasps of the Atleti forward's shirt as he tries to prevent his fleet-footed opponent escaping down the line. That could be a red card in the making, having just been booked.
J. Tah
Yellow Card
Bayer Leverkusen
39' Another Leverkusen defender goes into the referee's notebook, as Tah upends Joao Felix with a rugged challenge from behind. That earns him a merited yellow card.
36' As the clock ticks down towards the interval, Leverkusen still probe patiently as they aim to open up their opponents. A cutback from the promisingly-positioned Diaby is misplaced, however, before Andrich then sends another shot sailing over the bar.
34' An out-to-in run by Hudson-Odoi sees the winger work his way into a shooting position, some 20 yards out in a central area. His low effort is blocked by the resolute visiting defence, which has protected Grbic pretty well so far today.
O. Kossounou
Yellow Card
Bayer Leverkusen
33' A lunging challenge on Saul by Kossounou, who almost wins the ball but also brings down the man, sees the Leverkusen defender given the game's first yellow card.
29' Both possession and passing accuracy statistics are closely contested to this point, as Leverkusen just edge the former (with 51 per cent) and Atletico the latter (by 2 per cent). It reflects how tight this encounter has been so far.
27' Leverkusen again carve out an opening, as Demirbay's outswinging cross from the left finds Schick in the six-yard box. However, a well-timed leap from Saul sees the Atleti midfielder manage to head the ball away.
25' CLOSE! Receiving the ball from Hlozek in the final third, Demirbay lets fly with a left-footed shot from outside the box, which whistles just past the right-hand post!
23' NO PENALTY! The ball does seem to have touched Tapsoba's arm in the area, but the VAR agrees with the on-field officials: no penalty is to be awarded! Diego Simeone is far from happy, but the game goes on!
22' PENALTY FOR ATLETI? A cross into the Leverkusen box is flicked towards the back post by Felipe, but on its way there it appears that Tapsoba made contact on the ball with his hand! The VAR has initiated a review, and the home fans have their fingers crossed that Atletico won't be awarded a penalty!
21' Hincapie now features on defensive duty, as he covers as the last man near the back post and heads away a dangerous cross from the left for a corner.
19' Finding a yard of space on the left, not far outside the area, Saul unleashes a low shot, but it strikes the first red Leverkusen shirt in front of him and then bounces away from danger.
17' With Joao Felix haring towards the penalty area approaching top speed, Andrich stays composed and makes an important block on the edge of the box, allowing Leverkusen to win the ball and build again from the back.
15' Diaby is released down the right by a low throughball, but just as soon as the flying Frenchman appears set to control the ball near the byline, Felipe slides in with a well-timed tackle to turn the ball behind for a corner.
13' Without a defined pattern so far, this game seems to be an opportunity for both teams to win - but Leverkusen's need is greater, given their slow start last week.
11' Again getting the better of Molina out wide, Hincapie turns his opponent inside out with a sharp turn and earns his side a free-kick. That could be a battle to keep an eye on for the remainder of the match.
9' Morata topples rather dramatically inside the Leverkusen area, but the referee is unmoved despite protests from Koke that Demirbay gave the striker a shove from behind.
7' CLOSE! Hincapie skins Molina tight on the touchline, then stands up a cross into the centre for Hlozek. Only Hermoso denies the Czech forward with a headed clearance inside the six-yard box, before Andrich blasts the follow-up high over the crossbar!
5' Andrich brings down Morata out on the left flank, but Atletico can't make the most of the subsequent set-piece opportunity, which is headed away from near the penalty spot by the Leverkusen defence.
3' An ambitious ball over the top, trying to pick out Hudson-Odoi on the left is slightly overhit, and the Leverkusen winger can't quite latch onto it near the byline.
1' Leverkusen kick off, and we are under way at the BayArena!
The players are out on the pitch in Leverkusen, having observed the iconic Champions League anthem, and kick-off is now just moments away!
As long-serving goalkeeper Jan Oblak is not fit to feature for Atletico Madrid today, Grbic makes his Champions League debut for the club. Felipe makes his first start of the season in defence, while Joao Felix partners Morata up front. Stefan Savic, Sergio Reguilon and Jose Gimenez join Oblak on the sidelines.
Though Exequiel Palacios has been ruled out of today's game with a muscular injury sustained at the weekend - joining long-term absentees Florian Wirtz and Karim Bellarabi on the sidelines - it is a familiar Leverkusen side that starts against Atletico Madrid. Diaby, Hlozek and Hudson-Odoi join forces in the supporting cast for centre-forward Schick up front - the latter has yet to get off the mark in 15 previous Champions League appearances.
SUBS: Antonio Gomis, Sergio Mestre, Angel Correa, Matheus Cunha, Antoine Griezmann, Marco Moreno, Alberto Moreno, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Sergio, Rodrigo de Paul, Yannick Carrasco.
ATLETICO MADRID (3-5-2): Ivo Grbic; Felipe, Axel Witsel, Mario Hermoso; Nahuel Molina, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Saul Niguez, Reinildo; Joao Felix, Alvaro Morata.
SUBS: Niklas Lomb, Maximilian Neutgens, Nadiem Amiri, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jeremie Frimpong, Paulinho, Mitchel Bakker, Charles Aranguiz, Sardar Azmoun.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN (4-2-3-1): Lukas Hradecky; Odilon Kossounou, Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba, Piero Hincapie; Robert Andrich, Kerem Demirbay; Moussa Diaby, Adam Hlozek, Callum Hudson-Odoi; Patrik Schick.
Today aiming for successive victories to start their latest Champions League campaign, Atletico Madrid were 2-1 winners against Porto in their first Group B fixture, which ended with Antoine Griezmann producing the decisive goal 11 minutes into stoppage time. Then, at the weekend, Atleti recorded a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo, which leaves them fourth in the La Liga standings. The last time Los Colchoneros met Leverkusen in the group stage, back in 2019, they lost 2-1 in Germany.
Amid a faltering start to the 2022-23 season, Bayer Leverkusen are today targeting their first points in Champions League Group B, having suffered a 1-0 defeat to Club Brugge in their opener last week. That setback reflects their fortunes in the Bundesliga so far, and with just four points from six league matches, Die Werkself occupy 17th place in the domestic standings. Gerardo Seoane's side were held to a 2-2 draw by Hertha Berlin on Saturday, and have won only once this term across all competitions.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Champions League Group B clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid, at the BayArena!