DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen took a step towards qualification for the Champions league last 16 with a battling 0-0 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A on Tuesday.
The Germans moved on to seven points, one behind leaders Manchester United who they host in the next match. Shakhtar are third on five points, four ahead of Real Sociedad.
“The game turned more difficult than we could expect, Shakhtar are a completely different team when playing at home. Our keeper Bernd Leno had a few lethal saves earning us a point in this game,” Bayer coach Sami Hyypia told reporters.
“Four points in two games with them is a good outcome for us. There is everything still open in our group. We have a difficult home game against United in the next round. But we are good at home and have to win.”
Leno was forced into fine saves in the first half as Shakhtar started brightly, eager to take revenge for their 4-0 defeat in Germany, but they failed to break through.
Facundo Ferreyra went close twice but his efforts were well parried by the keeper after trademark low crosses from captain Dario Srna.
Bayer wasted the chance to respond as Sidney Sam sent a weak shot wide from inside the area before Leverkusen were almost caught cold as another Srna cross hit the far post.
The German side forced Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov into a diving save on the hour to parry Son Heung-min’s long-range effort.
Shakhtar’s Facundo Ferreyra fired over the bar to waste a golden opportunity to put home side in front and Luiz Adriano nearly stole victory for the hosts in stoppage time but his header was well saved.
“We are really upset about not winning this game,” Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said.
“Our young players had five or six clear chances to score but it was the night of their keeper Bernd Leno and we are applauding his outstanding reactions.”
Editing by Ed Osmond