Berlin, Nov 27 (IANS) AS Monaco needed just one shot on target to beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in a UEFA Champions League Group C match. Despite the second loss in Group C, Leverkusen qualified for the last 16, thanks to Zenit Saint Petersburg' s win over Benfica Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
However, Leverkusen were stunned as Monaco snatched a surprising win due to substitute Lucas Ocampos strike. Leverkusen took the reins from the start against passive visitors from Monaco, who kept all men behind the ball to defend deep in their territory.
The hosts let the ball do the work and tried to combine their way through Monaco' s bulwark. Yet, their efforts remained fruitless although Lars Bender rattled the woodwork with 26 minutes into the game, which remained the only noteworthy opportunity of the first half.
After the restart Monaco loosened their wait-and-see strategy nevertheless Leverkusen controlled the proceedings in all the departments. Leverkusen' s substitute Josip Drmic had the golden opportunity in the 66th minute, but he pulled wide from very close range when he had only Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to beat.
Clinical Monaco cut a better figure in front of Leverkusen's goal area as Ocampos, who was fielded two minutes earlier, tapped in a cross by Nabil Dirar at the near post with 72 minutes into the encounter.
Leverkusen were shocked, but they pressed frenetically for the equaliser nonetheless Monaco continued to stage a well-positioned defence to wrap three points on the road in front of 26,230 spectators at the BayArena.
Despite the loss Leverkusen occupy first place with 9 points, followed by Monaco with 8 points, Zenit with 7 points and Benfica with 4 points.
"Monaco showed their efficiency again. They won two games against us with just one chance in each game. We failed to turn our domination into a tangible reward. This is the Champions League you won't see a weak team you have to earn every point," Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt said.
"We qualified although we would have liked to secure the first place today. However, we sit still on the first position," Leverkusen's director of sports Rudi Voeller said.