November 26, 2019 / 8:15 PM / 10 days ago

Leverkusen beat Lokomotiv 2-0 to keep qualifying hopes alive

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group D - Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen - RZD Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 26, 2019 Bayer Leverkusen's Wendell and Kevin Volland celebrate after the match REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen stunned hosts Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday to maintain their hopes of reaching the knockouts from Group D.

An own goal from Rifat Zhemaletdinov and a Sven Bender volley gave Leverkusen a precious three points which kept alive their prospects of finishing in the top two as second-placed Atletico Madrid lost 1-0 at group leaders Juventus.

The Germans, who play Juve on Dec. 11 in their group finale, are third in the standings on six points, with the Italians top on 13 and Atletico on seven. The Russians, with just three points from five games, are out of the running.

Even if Leverkusen fail to advance to the round of 16, they will still play European football next year, having secured third place and a spot in the Europa League with their win over Lokomotiv.

The Germans survived a strong Russian start and grabbed a lucky lead when a clearance bounced off the leg of Zhemaletdinov for an own goal in the 11th minute.

The Russians had a golden opportunity to level through Anton Miranchuk but Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky palmed his close-range effort wide.

There was nothing lucky, however, about Leverkusen’s second goal with Bender thundering in a volley from the left after a superb Charles Aranguiz chip, to seal victory for the visitors, who were without injured in-form midfielder Kai Havertz.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis

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