Bayer held at home
Bayer Leverkusen were held to a goalless draw by Metalist Kharkiv to open their Europa League Group K campaign in disappointing fashion.
Last Updated: 20/09/12 10:32pm
Bayer Leverkusen were surprisingly held to a goalless draw by Ukraine outfit Metalist Kharkiv to open their Europa League Group K campaign in disappointing fashion.
Leverkusen dominated for long periods but were unable to find a way past Kharkiv's veteran keeper Oleksandr Goryainov.
With Rapid Vienna and Rosenburg to face, Leverkusen's anticipated passage into the knockout stages is clearly not going to be as straightforward as they might initially have thought.
If there was one consolation for the goal-shy Bundesliga outfit, it was that they were spared the kind of humiliation they experienced on their last European outing,
when a 7-1 loss to Barcelona last March was the heaviest continental defeat in their history.
Kharkiv were never likely to get anywhere near that and mustered only one shot on target.
Two seasons ago, the Germans recorded two routine victories over Kharkiv in the last 32 of this competition.
Clearly though, the Ukraine outfit are now made of sterner stuff and in goalkeeper Goryainov they had a particular hero.
For as Leverkusen launched their late attempt to seize victory from a drab contest, the 37-year-old stood firm.
Goryainov twice denied Karim Bellarabi in those frantic stages and also repelled Simon Rolfes.
In between, one-time Chelsea target Andre Schurrle wasted the best chance of the game when he struck the woodwork when he looked likely to score.
Chile forward Junior Fernandez also had a shot blocked as Kharkiv collected their precious point.
It was not entirely one-way traffic. Junior Sosa wasted a decent opportunity for the visitors just after half-time and the Ukraine outfit also forced a couple of corners during a concerted spell of pressure.
Largely, though, their tactics were defensive ones.
Even before his late involvement, Goryainov had proved a thorn in Leverkusen's side.
He came out on top in his personal duel with Bellarabi, while Rolfes was also frustrated long before the hosts threw everything at Kharkiv in a vain attempt to secure victory.