Bayer defeat Sociedad to book place in last 16

Madrid, Dec 11: Bayer Leverkusen booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, defeating Real Sociedad 1-0 at the Anoeta Stadium here.

The German side’s victory means that Real Sociedad end the group phase with just one point from 6 games, while Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk allowed the Germans to leapfrog the Ukrainian team into second place in the group.

Real Sociedad received a warning after just 11 minutes when Gonzalo Castro hit the Real post with a curling shot, although the home side continued to move the ball around well, although without creating scoring chances.

Indeed it was the German team that was looking more likely to increase their lead as first Rolfes and then Kiessling tried their luck before Antoine Griezmann saw a shot blocked by Bayer goalkeeper, Bernd Leno, who also did well to deny Imanol Agirretxe from the rebound.

Carlos Vela almost opened the scoring in the last minute of the first half, but he was inches away from getting a touch on a pass from Griezmann and the ball went clear.

It was Bayer who finally opened the scoring four minutes after halftime when central defender Omar Tropak took advantage of some comic defending by the home side from a corner kick.

Tropak was allowed time to control the ball, step forward and lash the ball into the back of the Real Sociedad net.

Far from inspiring a fightback, Tropak’s goal seemed to cause Real Sociedad to go into their shell and Kiessling saw a header bounce back of the bar before home goalkeeper, Enuat Zubikarai produced a stunning save to deny the same player.

Griezmann again went close with a header, although Leno made a reasonably comfortable save and the only remaining chance by for Real Sociedad saw central defender Ion Ansotegi head wide when well placed in injury time.

IANS