Besiktas 2-0 RB Leipzig: Black Eagles bring Red Bulls back down to earth

Ralph Hasenhüttl's side's first competitive game outside of Germany ended in defeat yet they missed their fair share of chances.

Besiktas 2-0 RB Leipzig: Black Eagles bring Red Bulls back down to earth
Photo: Ahmet Dumanli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
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RB Leipzig
Besiktas: (4-2-3-1) Fabricio; Medel (Uysal 60’), Pepe, Tosic, Erkin; Özyakup, Hutchinson; Quaresma, Talisca (Arslan 71’), Babel, Tosun (Negredo 80’).
RB Leipzig: (4-4-2) Gulácsi; Ilsanker, Orban (Kampl 46‘), Upamecano, Halstenberg; Sabitzer, Keïta (Bruma 59‘), Demme, Forsberg; Augustin, Werner (Klostermann 32‘).
SCORE: 1-0, Babel 11’. 2-0, Talisca 43’.
REFEREE: Sergei Karasev (RUS). Booked: Orban (8’), Keïta (15’), Erkin (17’), Fabricio (87’).
INCIDENTS: UEFA Champions League Group G match at Vodafone Park. Attendance: 41,000.

RB Leipzig received a tough lesson in European football as they were beaten 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League by Besiktas.

Both goals came in the first half from Ryan Babel and Talisca, but Leipzig had several chances to get back into the game.

Besiktas top Group G with back-to-back victories, whilst Leipzig are third just above AS Monaco on goal difference.

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Besiktas put Leipzig in their place with first half display

For Leipzig this was a first ever away game in Europe in one of the most hostile atmospheres in the continent, after their 1-1 draw at home to AS Monaco two weeks ago. There was just one change from their Bundesliga win against Eintracht Frankfurt with Naby Keïta back in place of Lukas Klostermann. Besiktas beat FC Porto 3-1 in the first group game, but lost to rivals Fenerbahce SK at the weekend. Nevertheless, they were unchanged from the Istanbul derby.

Besiktas piled on the pressure from the off. A cross from veteran Ricardo Quaresma, celebrating his 34th birthday, almost found Talisca in the box, but Péter Gulácsi got there first. That was the closest they came as Leipzig failed to contain the pressure, and when Cenk Tosun got the beating of Orban to put in a cross, Babel met it with a first-time shot to put the Eagles into the lead.

Leipzig were guilty of conceding several fouls as they tried in vain to deal with the threat posed, with Willi Orban and Keïta both going into the book early on. Keïta was then lucky not to see a second yellow for a foul on Atiba Hutchinson, leaving Ralph Hasenhüttl little choice but to consider taking him off. However an injury to Timo Werner forced his hand, with Klostermann eventually replacing the striker rather than Keïta.

By then Leipzig had begun to compose themselves, with Marcel Sabitzer bringing in keeper Fabricio into the action with a long-range effort that needed parrying away from goal. Soon after coming on, Klostermann then had the ball in the net, but fell victim to a tight, but correct, offside call.

By taking more of the possession Leipzig dampened the Besiktas threat. But a few minutes before the break, Babel created a chance for Tosun, which was saved by Gulácsi. Then the birthday boy Quaresma delivered a peach of a cross from the other side of the pitch, finding Talisca to head in a second.

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Leipzig waste excellent chances either side of floodlight outage

That didn’t deter the German side going into the second half. Emil Forsberg signified their intentions with a strike from distance just over the bar, not quite dipping enough to test Fabricio. Sabitzer then had two superb chances to score, both times denied by Fabricio, the second coming on the end of a good move from his team.

Bruma was then introduced, with Keïta’s evening finally coming to an end, and from the corner following the second Sabitzer effort, he almost scored with his first touch, going just wide. Moments later, and the game was halted as half of the floodlights in the stadium went out. The players were taken briefly off the field, with play in the end suspended for 11 and a half minutes.

Leipzig had most of the possession after the restart, but a couple of average efforts from Forsberg was all they head to show for it at this particular stage. For Besiktas, Pepe was caught offside, whilst a run from Tosun was well countered by Kevin Kampl.

They kept pushing as the game fell into the final ten minutes. Jean-Kévin Augustin went wide after a bit of confusion for Besiktas in defending a corner. Sabitzer then robbed a complacent Pepe on the by-line, beating Fabricio from a tight angle but not the crossbar. He had another effort off target just after, whilst Marcel Halstenberg struck over.

A good combination between defender Dusko Tosic and substitute Álvaro Negredo led to the first real save Gulácsi had to make in the second half. But Leipzig will have been ruing the chances they’d missed both before and after the stoppage, least of all the last one from Augustin. Diego Demme found him with a great ball in a superb position to score, but Augustin put the effort over.