LEVERKUSEN, Germany (Reuters) – Monaco stunned Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 with a late goal against the run of play from substitute Lucas Ocampos on Wednesday to revive their Champions League qualifying hopes and scupper the Germans’ plans to top Group C with a game to spare.
Ocampos had been on for only two minutes when he sneaked into the box in the 72nd to slide the ball home after the Germans, who had won their previous three group games, had dominated but were again frustrated by defensive Monaco.
“The key was that we had very good pressing,” Monaco’s Dimitar Berbatov, who played for five seasons at Leverkusen, told reporters.
“We wanted to hold the first half. In the second half they got a bit tired and then we looked for the chance to score this one goal. You have to be clever, take that chance, score and win.”
Leverkusen, who have now lost twice to Monaco, had already qualified for the Round of 16 without kicking a ball after Zenit
St Petersburg beat Benfica 1-0 earlier.
The Germans were eager to top the group to make sure they avoided the many European heavyweights in the knockout stage.
Instead the result left them top on nine points with Monaco on eight and Zenit on seven going into the last matchday, when Monaco play the Russians and need only a draw to go through.