LEVERKUSEN (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen scored a moral victory over AS Roma despite wasting a two-goal lead to draw 4-4 in the Champions League on Tuesday and are on track for a top two finish in Group E, the German club’s sports director Rudi Voller said.
The former Germany striker, who both played for and coached the Italian club in the past, said Leverkusen’s sloppy performance was forgotten with two late goals saving a point, boosting morale and keeping them in second place in the group on four points, with Roma in last place on two.
Barcelona are top on seven after beating BATE Borisov 2-0 with the Belarusian club in third place on three.
“We are of course the small moral winners here, especially with the way we came back,” the 55-year-old told reporters. “But we believed in it and it was extremely important to remain ahead of Roma in the group.”
The top two teams of each group advance to the competition’s knockout stage.
“But we also have to admit that we lost the plot after the Italians scored their first goal,” Voller said.
Leverkusen took a two-goal lead through Javier Hernandez after 19 minutes only to see Daniele De Rossi score twice in nine minutes to level.
Roma rode roughshod over Leverkusen after the break scoring twice more to seemingly put the game to bed but it was the hosts’ turn to stage a comeback and strike in the 84th minute with Kevin Kampl’s long-range effort to keep their hopes alive.
It took them only two more minutes to score again, Admir Mehmedi drawing them level.
“A game like that will do us a lot of good,” said Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt, whose team are struggling in the Bundesliga with just two wins from their last seven league matches. “It is amazing to see the team come back like that.”
“This was far from a normal football game,” he said. “It is for games like this that you come to the stadium.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Lovell