Berlin, Oct 21 (IANS) Admir Mehmedi’s late equaliser ensured hosts Bayer Leverkusen one point in a see-saw 4-4 draw with Roma in the third round of UEFA Champions League’s group stage.
Leverkusen established a two-goal lead within 18 minutes before Roma bounced back with four goals. However, the hosts fought back and scored two goals, through Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi, in the closing period to wrap up their first draw in Group E on Tuesday. It was the third eight-goal draw in UEFA Champions League history, Xinhua reported.
Leverkusen caught a fairy tale start as Javier Hernandez converted a handball penalty to open the scoring with just four minutes into the encounter. The Mexican international remained in the thick of action after doubling the lead thanks to Hakan Calhanoglu, whose precise through ball that allowed Hernandez to slot home in the 19th minute.
Roma posed nearly no threat to Leverkusen’s defence but things changed out of the blue when Daniele de Rossi tapped home to the reduce the arrears after the hosts failed to make a clearance following a corner kick. Leverkusen remained unimpressed and Hernandez came close to make it three at the half hour but for all that, it were the visitors that restored parity against the run of the game as unmarked De Rossi headed home a free kick to seal his brace in the 37th minute.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as Roma grabbed a bright start into the second half when Miralem Pjanic’s unstoppable free kick goal made it 3-2 on the scoreboards. The visitors gained momentum and extended the lead to 4-2 through substitute Iago Falque, who made use of Gervinho’s build-up play to tap home in the 73rd minute.
However, Roger Schmidt’s men kept it bowling and narrowed the gap after a long-range hammer by Kevin Kampl with six minutes remaining. The hosts pressed frenetically and got rewarded one minute later as Admir Mehmedi tapped in Wendell’s square pass at the far post. With the draw, both teams stay on their positions in the standings of Group E. Barcelona sit atop the table with 7 points followed by Leverkusen (4), BATE Borisov(3) and Roma (2).