CSKA Moscow 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Natcho leaves Bayer relying on Spurs slip up to assure qualification

Bayer Leverkusen led for over an hour, but couldn't take all three points against CSKA Moscow.

CSKA Moscow 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Natcho leaves Bayer relying on Spurs slip up to assure qualification
Natcho's penalty saw the game finish 1-1 (photo: Mikhail Japaridze)
CSKA Moscow
1 1
Bayer Leverkusen
CSKA Moscow : Akinfeev, Schennikov, Berezutski, Berezutski, Fernandes, Wernbloom, Natcho, Dzagoev, Golovin, Milanov, Chalov.
Bayer Leverkusen : Leno, Henrichs, Toprak, Tah, Jedvagj, Kampl, Aranguiz, Brandt, Calhanoglu, Volland, Hernandez.
SCORE: 0-1, Volland 15'. 1-1, Natcho 75'.
REFEREE: Alberto Mallenco: Booked - Akinfeev, Wernbloom, Hernandez, Henrichs, Kampl.
INCIDENTS: UEFA Champions League matchday five fixture.

Despite leading for over an hour, Bayer Leverkusen couldn't seal an away win in Russia, drawing 1-1 against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

Kevin Volland put the Bundesliga side ahead early on in the encounter, and they should have made more of their lead, eventually made to regret some poor finishing when Bibras Natcho levelled up from the penalty spot with 15 minutes remaining.

There were chances at either end after that, as the tense game drew to a close, but none were taken - the spoils shared.

Ding-dong game gets off to a fast start 

Well aware that a win would seal qualification if Tottenham Hotspur failed to beat AS Monaco in France later on, Roger Schmidt's side saw the game start at a furious pace, with early chances aplenty before Leverkusen broke the deadlock after 16 minutes.

Julian Brandt produced some exceptional footwork on the edge of the area, showing end product too as he picked out Hakan Calhanoglu inside the box, the Turkish midfielder striking wide of the post by a couple of feet.  

Up at the other end, a poor mistake from Omer Toprak allowed Aleksandr Golovin to pounce on his shoddy touch, going through on goal only for Bernd Leno to save the ball by sticking out one of his long legs. 

Volland on hand to score opener 

Kevin Volland was the man who breached the net first, minutes later, from a well worked Leverkusen set-piece. Calhanoglu played the ball towards Kevin Kampl, who was given too much time to pick out Volland, who controlled well inside the penalty box before tucking the ball past Igor Akinfeev.

It should have been made two at various times during the first half, never less so than when Javier Hernandez burst through just two minutes after Volland had put his side ahead. Unfortunately for the Mexican, he couldn't show the same composure as his teammate, shooting straight at Akinfeev.

Chances at either end as the game progressed

Hernandez was in the thick of things towards the end of the half too, his header saved by Akinfeev as Toprak bundled in the rebound, only to see that the flag had been raised for offside.

That missed opportunity came after CSKA had looked to level things up themselves, Georgi Milanov and Mario Fernandes linking well on the right before sending a cross to Dzagoev, who struck over on the volley.

The home side saw their volume of chances increase in the second half, and like Leverkusen, had a goal ruled out for offside. Chalov's flick had caused confusion in the German side's penalty area, allowing Dzagoev to sneak in and score from the 18 yard line, however that didn't count as the whistle had gone for a foul on Jonathan Tah by Natcho.

Calhanoglu curled one of his trademark free-kicks narrowly wide of Akinfeev's post at the other end, but that didn't put CSKA off from continuing to pour forward, Leno forced into a tremendous save off his line from Golovin's scrambled effort.

Natcho penalty sets up enthralling final 15

The Russian side saw their persistence pay off eventually, given a chance to level up from the penalty spot 15 minutes from the end, when Benjamin Henrichs bundled into Fernandes in the area, leaving referee Alberto Mallenco with no choice but to point to the spot.

Natcho stepped up, determined to give Moscow a hope of victory, and did so by placing an fantastic penalty into the bottom left hand corner.

The drama wasn't done yet, as a Moscow side desperate for victory continued to go on the offensive, whilst Leverkusen were caught in two minds. They did trouble on the counter, Volland almost making it a brace when he curled an effort off the woodwork. 

That, however, came after Dzagoev had missed another golden chance for the hosts, the midfielder lashing an effort wide of the post from just yards out. Fortunately for him, the flag was raised to spare his blushes. 

Hernandez was forced off with what looked like a slight knock for Leverkusen, a change that saw them seemingly settle for the draw, Moscow bringing on six-foot-eight Lassina Traore in their quest for a winner. 

However, it turned out to be a winner that they couldn't quite manage despite a valiant second half effort, the two teams sharing the points. 

Leverkusen did qualify later on in the evening however, Spurs beaten in Monaco, leaving Leverkusen safely into the last 16.