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Match Analysis: Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Benfica

Sports Mole analyses the Group C Champions League clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Benfica at the BayArena.

Bayer Leverkusen picked up their first points in Group C with a 3-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League this evening.

Stefan Kiessling, Son Heung-Min and Hakan Calhanoglu were on the scoresheet for the hosts.

Eduardo Salvio briefly gave the Portuguese champions some hope with a second-half strike, but the home side soon restored their two-goal advantage.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the outcome.

Match statistics

Bayer Leverkusen
Shots: 22
On target: 10
Possession: 44%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 18

Benfica
Shots: 6
On target: 1
Possession: 56%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 11

Was the result fair?

The result was absolutely fair. Bayer Leverkusen were by far the better side right from the start, creating chance after chance early on before breaking the deadlock 25 minutes in. By contrast, Benfica created little to try to get themselves back into the tie, having just one shot on target all night, allowing Leverkusen to easily wrap up their first win in the group stage of the competition this season.

Bayer Leverkusen's performance

The hosts played positive, attacking football from kickoff, immediately looking to exploit an out-of-sorts Julio Cesar in the Benfica goal. Stefan Kiessling and Karim Bellarabi caused problems for the visitors throughout the match, while Son Heung-Min always looked dangerous. At the back, Emir Spahic led a well-organised back four to ensure that Benfica's opportunities remained limited and that Bernd Leno had a quiet night in goal.

Benfica's performance

The Portuguese champions were played off the pitch this evening, barely getting a touch inside the Leverkusen half, and having just one shot on target all night, although it did result in a goal. The visitors' defenders struggled to cope with the relentless pace of the Leverkusen attack, while they struggled to create anything for their strikers. Discipline was also a problem for Benfica, as they picked up five yellow cards over the course of the evening.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Son Heung-Min: The Benfica defenders seemed to focus on trying to stop Kiessling and Bellarabi early on, allowing Son Heung-Min to really get into his stride. The South Korea international proved a menace down the left wing with bags of pace and fantastic footwork. The midfielder set up the opening goal for Kiessling after Cesar parried his shot to the striker before he added the second with a well-taken finish, and could have had another just before half time.

Biggest gaffe

Hakan Calhanoglu will certainly not want to relive his second-half miss at the far post when the home side were leading 2-0. The midfielder was left with a simple tap-in from just a couple of yards out when a perfectly-weighted cross fell to him, but somehow he managed to slice the ball wide. Luckily for him, the miss did not prove too costly, and he made amends shortly after when he scored from the penalty spot.

Referee performance

There were not that many big decisions for Englishman Martin Atkinson to make, but it was a pretty competent display from the referee. He let the game flow, not awarding too many free kicks early on, but was prepared to reach for the cards when the tackles started flying in after the break. Atkinson did award a penalty in the second half, but it was actually the additional assistant referee behind the goal that gave the spot kick after consulting with the Premier League official.

What next?

Bayer Leverkusen: Leverkusen are at home again in the Bundesliga this weekend as they host Paderborn, and face a trip away to Stuttgart before their next Champions League outing against Zenit St Petersburg.

Benfica: The Portuguese champions host Arouca in the Primeira Liga this weekend, before travelling to AS Monaco in the Champions League later this month.

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Leverkusen's midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu and Leverkusen's forward Stefan Kiessling celebrate during the first leg UEFA Champions League Group C football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs SL Benfica in Leverkusen, western Germany on October 1, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern30225385384771
2RB Leipzig30187553252861
3Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt301511461441756
4Wolfsburg29159551292254
5Borussia DortmundDortmund291541062422049
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen30138948341447
7Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach29111085243943
8Union BerlinUnion Berlin29101364435943
9Freiburg29117114442240
10Stuttgart29109105146539
11Augsburg3096152944-1533
12Hoffenheim2988134147-632
13Werder Bremen2979133347-1430
14Arminia Bielefeld3086162346-2330
15Mainz 052877143048-1828
16Hertha Berlin2868143448-1426
17FC Koln3068162954-2526
18Schalke 04Schalke3027211876-5813

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