Prague (AP) – With the last team and outnumbered after 70 minutes, Bayer Leverkusen suffered a bitter defeat in the Europa League.
De Werkself lost 0: 1 (0: 1) to Czech champion Slavia Prague and suffered a setback in group C after the 6-2 opener against OGC Nice. After Nice, Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva beaten 1-0, all four clubs in Group C now have three points, but Bayer is still the leader.
Bayer had to do without six injuries, with four places left in the team. After a dubious red card against Karim Bellarabi in the 21st minute, Bayer had to play more than two-thirds of the game with ten players. Leverkusen kept the 0-0 for a long time, goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky even parried a penalty kick from Nicolae Stanciu, including a margin (64th). But then Prague scored the winning goal via Peter Olayinka (80th).
“The defeat was not necessary at all,” said Bayer coach Peter Bosz at Nitro: “It is difficult if you have to play with ten men from the 22nd minute. But we must also not lose the game with ten men.” Hradecky explained: “The penalty kick was not necessary, but thank goodness I saved myself. And then we conceded an unnecessary goal. Attitude was good, we played compact. So it’s a shame it wasn’t 0: 0 or 1: 1 came out. “
The tragic person for the first 20 minutes was Bellarabi. In the third minute, the former national player, who was entered as a joker only three times, gave away the huge opportunity for a quick lead for the Bayer side, which had changed to seven positions. Slavia goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar had the ball right in his feet, but the 30-year-old fired off the empty goal from a sharp angle instead of serving the completely detached Lucas Alario. Finally, after boarding against Lukas Provod, much to Bayer Bank’s amazement and horror, he saw a straight red. “Actually a clear argument for the VAR”, the club tweeted: “But he is free today.” The video assistant is only used in the Europa League from the knockout round.
Surprisingly, the Czechs, who only played one game in the national league since October 4 due to the season stop, did not give up their wait-and-see attitude afterwards. Leverkusen’s ten rarely found gaps in the stable Prague defensive.
After the break, Slavia increasingly took over command. Bayer seemed content with one point in strength. When Scottish referee William Collum rightly awarded a penalty for a foul by Hradecky on Olayinka, Hradecky remained strong. He was powerless against Olayinka’s header from the very first corner of Prague. A minute before the end of regular playing time, substitute Nadiem Amiri missed the biggest chance of the equalizer from Bayer, but his direct purchase just missed.