Leverkusen and La Coruna: Bayer Leverkusen fought back with a strong second-half performance Tuesday to edge Barcelona 2-1 and storm to the top of Group F in the Champions League. Barcelona was without Rivaldo and it showed as Bayer Leverkusen had the early chance, Oliver Neuville though failing to find the target with a header. Barcelona had their chances with Fabio Rochenback's free kick not being collected cleanly by Bayer's keeper. But no Barca player was close enough to take advantage. Barcelona finally opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, Luis Enrique wrong footing the defender before slotting the ball into the back of the net. The home side never came close to scoring until they were awarded a penalty in the 29th minute. German midfielder Michael Ballack was brought down in the box. Leverkusen had their goalkeeper take the spot kick, not exactly the best choice, as Hans-Joerg Butt missed the chance to level the match. Leverkusen had their moments to equalise but failed to capitalise on any of them. Clearly dominated by the Spanish giants in the first half, Leverkusen came out fighting in the second half. Ulf Kirsten was with a chance but he failed to find the target. But in the 52nd minute the scores were level, after a powerful shot from just outside the box by second half substitute Yildiray Basturk. In the 63rd minute, Kluivert had a chance, but his first touch proved costly, and the Dutchman then went on to give Saviola a mouthful for the pass. Six minutes later Barcelona were made to pay for some sloppy defending, as Neuville volleyed home the match winner off a brilliant cross. Moments later, the German side could have increased their lead, but for a brilliant one handed save from the Barca keeper. At the final whistle Leverkusen held on to win. They have now gone 12 matches without a loss. For Barcelona their troubles in Germany continue, they have not won a match here since 1986-87. Deserved win for Deportivo de la Coruna In a thrilling finish, two goals in the closing four minutes brought Deportivo de la Coruna a deserved 2-1 win over a defensive Manchester United in the Champions League. Manchester United had the good luck charm of the French side with them. Laurent Blanc gave country man Fabien Barthez the traditional kiss on the head. But it didn't seem to help them too much as Barthez was soon in the thick of action needing to pull off a brilliant one handed save to keep Diego Tristan's header out. And that save proved vital, as five minutes before the interval Paul Scholes put United up 1-0 off a rebound, for his 16th Champions League goal. Manchester looked like they may pull off an unlikely win in Spain for the first time. But they paid the price for being far too complacent in the second half as Deportivo leveled the match with just 4 minutes remaining. Walter Pandiani smacked the ball low past Barthez. And the hosts got the winner in the last minute of regulation time. Nourredine Naybet rammed it home for a 2-1 win to Deportivo. Manchester United who had beaten Bayern Munich in similar fashion in the final of the Champions League in 1999 had gotten a taste of their own stuff. Upcoming Champions League matches There's more champions league action on Wednesday night with Real Madrid and Liverpool in action. But the most pressure will be on Lazio and their new coach. Real Madrid would be happy with the form they take into their third Champions League game. The Spanish champions hammered Espanyol 5-1 for their first win in the La Liga. They take on Anderlect in a group A encounter at home. But the eight time champions will be without Zinedine Zidane yet again. He still has one more Champions League game after this one to get through his five-match ban. But with Luis Figo's and Raul looking in good touch, Real will be hoping they can win their third consecutive game and virtually book themselves in the next round. Meanwhile, Italian Champions AS Roma have failed to reproduce their title winning form at the start of this season. Their two Champions League games have resulted in a loss to Real Madrid and a draw at Anderlecht. Toma take on Lokomotiv Moscow and will rely heavily on midfielder Francesco Totti, one of their few in-form players. Lokomotiv Moscow have their own problems. They were thrashed by real Madrid 4-0 last week. But they say their biggest challenge will be to blunt AS Roma's attacking firepower. After winning five trophies in 6 months, Liverpool's form off late has been totally off colour. They now host Ukranian champions Dynamo Kyiv in a crucial Group B encounter at home. Liverpool who just managed to collect two points from their opening two games, will need a much inspired performance, if they are to justify their five trophies. But they start off on the backfoot even before kick off, with star striker Micheal Owen out with an injury he picked up during their 1-0 win against Totenham Hotspurs this weekend. Owen is now out for at least 2 months. Arsenal have also had a mixed start to their season, but after their 3-2 win last week against German side Schalke, the gunners will be in a more positive frame of mind against Greek side Panathinaikos, who are the current group leaders. Lazio in group D, have had a disastrous start to the season. After two loses in the champions League, Dino Zoff was quickly replaced by former AC Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni. But even Zaccheroni hasn't managed producing the magic touch, with Lazio losing in the Serie A this weekend as well.
Topics : Football