Champions League: Monaco defeat Bayer Leverkusen with Joao Moutinho on target
Last Updated: 16/09/14 10:24pm
Joao Moutinho scored the only goal as Monaco opened their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.
However, the hosts were forced to ride their luck after the visiting Germans wasted chance after chance before the break.
The decisive moment arrived just after the hour mark when Monaco broke the deadlock against the run of play.
As the hosts broke down the left, a curling cross was met by Dimitar Berbatov whose perfectly cushioned header fell for Moutinho to fire Monaco ahead from eight yards.
Yet Leverkusen were left to rue a series of first-half blunders: Gonzalo Castro missed a great chance to open the scoring on 14, dragging his effort wide from the edge of the box.
And the visitors came close again shortly afterwards when Hakan Calhanoglu drove the ball into the side-netting from a tight angle.
An even better chance arrived 10 minutes before the break when Karim Bellarabi broke clear only to fire a tame shot wide of the left post when he should have scored.
Son Heung-Min was the next to miss a glorious opportunity for the German club on 42, clipping his shot across the face of the goal when in plenty of space 15 yards out.
Then, in first-half injury-time, Castro volleyed over from 10 yards.
And Leverkusen were made to pay as Moutinho pounced after the break to give the French side three points in Group C.