City outclass Gladbach in dominant display

Miralem Pjanic on the spot to earn Roma a thrilling Champions League win


Miralem Pjanic's late penalty allowed Roma to edge a resilient Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 on Wednesday and keep their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League alive.

With the contest knotted at 2-2 at the Stadio Olimpico, Leverkusen captain Omer Toprak was shown a red card after bringing down Roma forward Mohamed Salah in the area.

Pjanic struck the penalty past visiting goalkeeper Bernd Leno to earn his side its first win in Group E.

Roma had taken a 2-0 half-time lead through Salah and Edin Dzeko, but the German outfit were level after 51 minutes played thanks to goals from Admir Mehmedi and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

The outcome has lifted Roma to second in the pool and five points adrift of group leaders Barcelona, who won 3-0 at home over BATE.

Leverkusen are third in the standings, one point adrift of Roma.

Roma coach Rudi Garcia included Daniele De Rossi in the starting XI despite reports that the veteran midfielder could rest in view of Sunday's derby against Lazio.

He fielded an attacking side with Dzeko playing alongside Salah and Gervinho in attack.

The hosts got off to a great start and went ahead in the second minute.

A fast counterattack by Roma saw Dzeko send Salah through on goal and the Egyptian international struck a left-footed shot towards the near post to beat Leno.

Roma continued to press forward and in the 21st minute Leno kept out Pjanic's 25-yard effort.

The Giallosrossi doubled their lead eight minutes later.

Radja Nainggolan fed Dzeko and the Bosnian forward controlled the ball and hit a right-footed shot past a helpless Leno.

The visitors could have reduced the arrears before half-time. Giulio Donati's cross found Chicharito in the area but the Mexican's left-footed attempt was saved by Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Leverkusen reduced the arrears one minute after the restart. Kevin Kampl's pass from the right found Mehmedi in the box and he coolly struck towards the top right corner of goal to beat Szczesny.

The visitors pulled level five minutes later when substitute Karim Bellarabi sent Chicharito through on goal. The Mexican beat the offside trap before hitting a diagonal shot from the heart of the area past Szczesny for his fourth Champions League goal of the campaign.

Leverkusen kept up the pressure and in the 58th minute, Szczesny kept out Mehmedi's shot that was headed in the direction of the near post.

In the 65th minute, Nainggolan spotted Salah in the area but his attempt was wide.

The referee then pointed to the spot after Salah went down in the box following contact with Toprak.

Toprak was handed his marching orders and although Leno guessed correctly, the keeper could not get a touch on Pjanic's spot-kick towards the bottom left corner of goal.

The visitors struggled playing in numerical inferiority and Roma held on for a vital victory.

Roma next travel to Spain to face Barca on Nov. 24 while Leverkusen take on bottom-side BATE in Belarus.

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