Champions League: Son Heung-min scores twice as Bayer Leverkusen close on knockout stage
Last Updated: 04/11/14 8:34pm
A second-half double from Son Heung-min earned Bayer Leverkusen an impressive 2-1 win at Zenit St Petersburg which put them on the brink of the Champions League knockout stage.
The South Korean curled home a brilliant first from outside the area following a clever free-kick after 68 minutes and then finished clinically to add a second five minutes later.
The German side rode their luck at times in the first half, but Zenit could not muster a response to the two quick goals until the 89th minute when substitute Jose Salomon Rondon produced a neat first-time finish.
It was too little too late, though, and defeat left their hopes of progression in the balance.
Leverkusen had beaten Zenit 2-0 in the reverse fixture in Germany two weeks ago, but this was always going to be a far stiffer test.
Hulk saw his free-kick, swung in left-footed from the right, evade everyone in the middle and come back off the far post with Bernd Leno beaten.
Leno then did well to save with his legs from Alexandr Kerzhakov as the striker raced through on goal.
The lively Kerzhakov then raced on to a through-ball and nicked the ball round Leno, but, running at speed, with the angle very tight and with the goalkeeper getting back to recover, he could only shoot into the side-netting.
At the other end, Stefan Kiessling's trickery was causing one or two problems, but goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin was not unduly tested.
Leverkusen started the second half well and Son shot wastefully over after leading a counter-attack following a Zenit corner. A simple pass right or left would have sent a team-mate through on goal.
At the other end Kerzhakov was keeping the Leverkusen back line busy, with Emir Spahic making a couple of crucial last-ditch tackles on the striker.
But it was the visitors went ahead in superb fashion, a training-ground routine working to perfection.
Hakan Calhanoglu shaped to float his free-kick from 35 yards into the area, but instead passed the ball into Karim Bellarabi, who had raced out of the area to come short.
Bellarabi laid it first time into the path of Son, who curled a delightful right-footed effort into the far corner from 25 yards.
Son soon made it two, this time shooting home after a pass from Kiessling to round off another swift counter.
Substitutes Alexander Ryazantsev and Rondon combined to give Zenit late hope, the latter flicking the ball past Leno after an inch-perfect pass, but Leverkusen held on.