FC Schalke 04 clung on despite being a man down for virtually the entire game before Stefan Kiessling snatched a late winner for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in a 1-0 victory for the visitors at the Veltins Arena on Sunday.
Schalke 0 Leverkusen 1
Naldo sent off early on
Dull match for the fans
Kiessling steals a late win
Hosts Schalke found themselves on the back foot as early as the fourth minute when Naldo was shown a straight red card after committing an ugly foul.
However, despite playing with a man down for 86 minutes, they still created more chances than Leverkusen and will feel bitterly disappointed to have conceded a late Kiessling goal to fall to a 1-0 defeat.
Schalke head coach Markus Weinzierl must have been scratching his eyes in disbelief when he saw star defender Naldo heading back to the dugout just four minutes into the match after he was dismissed for a bad foul.
However, they still engineered the first chance of the match as Evgen Konoplyanka did well to make some space for himself at the edge of the area before firing a shot inches wide of the post.
The visitors responded well and Kiessling went close moments later, but also was unable to hit the target as he snatched at his chance from just outside the Miners’ area.
The home side went within a whisker of taking the lead six minutes before half time when Johannes Geis got above the defence to head a powerful effort narrowly over the bar.
After the break, Konoplyanka showed a fantastic piece of skill to beat two defenders before firing a disappointing shot wide.
The match seemed to be petering out to a dull draw before a late push from Leverkusen paid dividends. Chicharito fired a warning shot with five minutes left on the clock, but Ralf Fahrmann pulled off a good save to deny him.
They were not to be denied, though, and, four minutes later, Hakan Calhanoglu delivered an inch-perfect free kick into the box for Kiessling, who timed his jump to perfection before angling a close-range header into the back of the net to steal a later win for the visitors.
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