Holders Atletico labour for home point
Atletico Madrid suffered another setback in the defence of their UEFA Europa League title after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bayer Leverkusen.
The Spanish side, who ended a 14-year wait for some silverware when they won this competition last season, suffered a 1-0 defeat in their opening Group B match against Aris Thessaloniki and they dropped another two points at the Vicente Calderon tonight. Leverkusen came into the encounter in top spot after thrashing Rosenborg 4-0 in their first outing and Jupp Heynckes' side boasted a half-time lead here thanks to Eren Derdiyok's goal just before the break.
Atletico got back on level terms just six minutes into the second half through Simao Sabrosa's penalty but they were unable to go on and force a winner, leaving Quique Sanchez Flores' Europa League holders bottom of Group B following Rosenborg's win over Aris.
There was little to separate the two sides in the first half but it was Leverkusen who held the upper hand at the interval courtesy of Derdiyok's effort. Tranquillo Barnetta's corner from the left was met by Sami Hyypia in the middle and the giant centre-back glanced the ball goalwards. The header did not look like it was going in but Atletico defender Filipe Luis' acrobatic attempt to clear ended up with the ball hitting the post and rebound fell to Derdiyok, who duly smashed it into the net.
Leverkusen almost doubled their lead three minutes later but Manuel Friedrich headed a good chance over from a corner. That was a worrying end to the period for Atletico but they were quick to hit back in the second half after winning a penalty when the sliding Hyypia was adjudged to have brought down substitute Fran Merida.
Hyypia looked far from impressed by the decision but the penalty stood and Atletico captain Simao gave Rene Adler no chance from the resulting spot-kick, scoring off the inside of the left post.
Both sides had chances to win the game after that with Adler tipping over a Tomas Ujfalusi cross before Reyes sent a diving header wide at the far post when he should have done much better. At the other end Atletico goalkeeper David De Gea needed to dive to his left to keep out a Patrick Helmes shot before the Leverkusen striker - who netted a hat-trick against Rosenborg - failed to get a proper connection on a late cross from Lars Bender when a winning goal looked in his sights.