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X K. Demirbay (16)
Galeno (6), M. Taremi (53), M. Taremi (64)

Luckless Leverkusen fall 0-3 to Porto

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

It turned out to be the case of "new coach, old problems" for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in their home Champions' League fixture on Wednesday night. 

Some undisciplined play, and some unfortunate luck, saw Xabi Alonso's Werkself lose to FC Porto by an even worse scoreline than they did under Gerardo Seoane in his final match eight days ago.
Mitchel Bakker.
Mitchel Bakker.
A better-than 3-to-1 shot advantage proved insufficient for Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen on Wednesday night at the BayArena. An early goal, a missed penalty, ad two second-half converted penalties for visitors Porto ensured that die Werkself fell 0-3 to their UCL opponents on the 2022/23 competitions fourth matchday. The German representatives currently in last place in their group with two rounds remaining.

In his second match in charge of Germany's red company team, Xabi had to change his initial winning XI in two positions. Both Robert Andrich and Jeremie Frimpong were unavailable due to accrued bookings. Kerem Demirbay took for Andrich in midfield while Amine Adli slid in for Jeremie Frimpong in the right wingback position. Xabi also opted to sit Edmond Tapsoba in favor of Odilon Kossounou in the back-three.

The hosts got off to an adventurous enough start, but still found themselves in an early hole. Both Kossounou and Jonathan Tah were beaten inside the box by Wenderson Galeano. The Brazilian winger slotted home in the 6th to give the Portuguese guests a 1-0 lead. Bayer reacted to the early goal somewhat timidly, were gifted a chance to equalize after a quarter of an hour.

Match official Istvan Kovacs initially jousted B04's Mitchel Bakker to have taken a dive in the box. After taking another look at the scene via video review, however, the the Romanian ref cancelled out Bakker's yellow and award Leverkusen a penalty for Matheus Uribe's clip of Bakker's shin. It nevertheless mattered not as Demirbay was unable to convert the penalty.

The Germans remained quite active in search of an equalizer over the duration of the half. Moussa Diaby turned an effort wide in the 21st. Porto keeper Diogo Costa followed up his penalty save with an outstretched leg that prevented Bakker from scoring the 1-1 in the 34th. Patrik Schick had the Dutchman set up almost perfectly.

One minute after that, Leverkusen saw a goal disallowed in the 35th. Kovacs had to scratch the tally off as Adli's shot deflected in off Schick's arm. Though die Werself certainly weren't lacking in spirit and ideas, there would be no equalizer before the half. Xabi's men generated a quick fire chance shortly after the restart in the form of an Adli tracer in the 49th. The effort was blocked.

Shortly after his scoring chance, Adli committed a totally unnecessary foul on Galeno just outside the penalty area. A VAR review confirmed that the 51st minute action was worthy of a penalty. Mehdi Taremi kept his composure from the spot to double up Porto's advantage in the 53rd.

Some ten minutes after that, still another penalty was awarded. Kossounou hauled down Galeno in the box after being beaten in the 63rd. Taremi once again stride to the spot to take the kick, beating Lukas Hradecky for the second time on the night with a precise shot in off the left post. Schick and Diaby saw chances for a late consolation goal denied.

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