Leverkusen surrenders top group spot with 0-0 draw vs. Benfica
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen drew 0-0 at Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday, advancing in the competition but surrendering top spot in Group C to Monaco which beat Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0.
The German club was already guaranteed a place in the knockout round, but needed a win in Lisbon to secure top spot and the prospect of facing a runner-up from another group as its next opponent.
Benfica, already out of European competition and facing a key domestic game against Porto next weekend, left out six of its regular team.
But the home side had the best chances, with Brazilian striker Lima shooting against the crossbar in the 10th minute and firing narrowly wide just before the interval.
Leverkusen was clumsy in midfield and attack, with only occasional forays by Josip Drmic to show for its first-half efforts.
The German team came back stronger in the second half, and Karim Bellarabi found ways through the Benfica defense.
With five points from its six matches and bottom place in the group, Benfica recorded its worst ever Champions League group campaign.