Leverkusen comeback sinks Valencia
Bayer Leverkusen scored twice in the space of five second-half minutes to come from behind and claim a 2-1 victory over Valencia, which tightens their grip on second place behind Chelsea in UEFA Champions League Group E.
Andre Schurrle cancelled out Jonas' first-half opener in the 52nd minute and four minutes, later Sidney Sam got the goal that would decide the match in Leverkusen's favour. It left Valencia ruing their failure to make more of a first half that was essentially one-way traffic, with the Spanish side pouring forward to create chances at will.
Jeremy Mathieu had the first effort on the goal in the fourth minute, but saw his shot blocked. Moments later, Robert Soldado fired at goal from a corner, but Simon Rolfes diverted the ball to safety.
Jonas' effort was blocked by Michal Kadlec before Ever Banega blazed over the bar. Luis Miguel was the next to see an effort on goal blocked by the busy Leverkusen defence, before Mathieu brought a save out of Bernd Leno in the 14th minute.
Another shot from Banega was deflected away by Omar Toprak before Soldado added to Valencia's growing frustration when he struck a post. The breakthrough was, however, only moments away, coming in the 24th minute when Soldado turned provider, crossing for Jonas to finish from close range.
Valencia did not let up, with Pablo Hernandez crossing for Soldado, who headed just over before Leno parried away Jonas' shot. The goalkeeper was called into action again seconds later to push Hernandez's shot around the post.
Banega's corner was then met by Adil Rami, but his header struck Rolfes and bounced to safety. Leverkusen had not been seen as an attacking force, but Kadlec finally had an effort on goal in the 39th minute, only to see it blocked by Rami.
Schurrle went closer seconds later with a powerful volley from range, but Diego Alves was able to push it over the bar. If Valencia did not spend the half-time break regretting their inability to add to their lead, they certainly were seven minutes after the restart when Kadlec crossed for Schurrle to fire home to equaliser.
Lars Bender then had a shot charged down and Sam fired wide before he completed the remarkable turnaround by latching on to Michael Ballack's pass to find the top left-hand corner of the net. Soldado sought a quick response for Valencia, but his close-range shot went wide right.
Leverkusen were looking for a third, but Sam's effort from just outside the area was held by Alves, as was another shot from Schurrle moments later. Leno parried Soldado's strike and then held on to a header from Jonas as the action switched ends.
Sam blazed over from the edge of the area and a weak shot from Schurrle failed to trouble Alves before Jonas had the final chance at an equaliser, only to see his shot held by Leno.