Sergi Roberto, Luis Suarez rescue Barcelona in dramatic late win
Champions League Group E, Camp Nou – FC Barcelona 2 (Roberto 80, Suarez 82) Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Papadopoulos 22)
Barcelona produced a late comeback to earn a 2-1 victory over a brave Bayer Leverkusen as the European champions claimed their first win in Group A at the Camp Nou.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos had given the visitors a well deserved first-half lead with his header on 22 minutes but two late goals in two minutes turned the match on its head as substitute Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez broke the hearts of Roger Schmidt’s side.
Barcelona, who were playing their first match without the injured Leo Messi, were slow and predictable - particularly in the first-half - but were saved by the two late goals.
The Spanish giants were expected to record an easy victory over their young and inexperienced opponents but it was the visitors who started the brightest and were unfortunate not to be leading by more than one goal at the break.
In fact, their dominance continued into the second-half but they couldn’t add to their lead and Javier Hernandez's miss four minutes after the restart is sure to give the Mexican sleepless nights.
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) vies with Bayer Leverkusen's Italian defender Giulio Donati (L) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 29, 2015AFP
2’ - CHANCE! A young and inexperienced Bayer Leverkusen take to the field tonight but they almost stun Barcelona after just a minute as Hernandez meets a cross at the near post and forces Stegen into a good, low save.
10’ - SAVE! Sandro is denied by a wonderful save from Leno - what a start that would have been for the youngster. He was played through on goal by Suarez but he couldn't find a way past the goalkeeper.
22’ - GOAL - Barcelona 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen! The visitors have the lead and it has been coming! Barcelona do not deal with Calhanoglu's delivery and Papadopoulos glides it home. What a start for Leverkusen and they fully deserve it.
Bayer Leverkusen's Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Barcelona and Bayer LeverkusenAFP
38’ - POST! Somehow it's still 0-1 - Neymar's deflected effort strikes a post but the ball falls kindly to Sandro who smashes it at goal but a brilliant block from Papadopoulos maintains the visitor's lead.
49’ - OH NO! Hernandez has completely squandered a wonderful chance for Leverkusen to double their advantage. Bellarabi found him with a delightful low cross and all Hernandez has to do is hit the target but he somehow fires the ball a mile over the bar.
65’ - JUST WIDE! Neymar curls his shot around the wall but just around the post. Leno, in the Leverkusen goal, was beaten.
80’ - GOAL - Barcelona 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen! Sergi Roberto finds the break through for the hosts - but how cruel on Leverkusen. Suarez's shot was only parried by Leno and Roberrto taps in the rebound.
Barcelona's midfielder Sergi Roberto (2nd L) celebrates his goal with Barcelona's defender Jordi Alba (R) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 29, 2015AFP
82’ - GOAL - Barcelona 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen! Heartbreak for Leverkusen as Suarez scores a brilliant, world class goal with a first time shot into the top corner. What a goal. What a couple of minutes.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos is the first player to score the opening goal for an opponent in Camp Nou since Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG) scored on 10 December 2014.
Barcelona win after trailing for the first time in the CL since the match against Paris Saint-Germain on 10 December 2014.
Sergi Roberto is the first substitute to score for Barcelona in the Champions League since Sandro Ramírez scored the 3-1 against Ajax on 21 October 2014.
Barcelona off the mark but heartbreak for Bayer Leverkusen – Luis Enrique will be counting his lucky stars that his team, somehow, won this match. Leverkusen were the better side for the majority of the contest but just couldn’t hold out for what would have been a famous victory. Barca looked poor with the exception of the last 10 minutes and it is certainly a worrying time with Leo Messi ruled out for a lengthy spell.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) – The live-wire caused problems for Barcelona all evening. Every part of his game was brilliant. His through ball to Javier Hernandez after the restart should have been rewarded with a goal. Leverkusen missed him when he was substituted midway through the second period.
Bayer Leverkusen's German midfielder from Karim Bellarabi (L) vies with Barcelona's Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Barcelona and Bayer LeverkusenAFP
MATCH IN A TWEET