Leverkusen beats Zenit 2-1 in Champions League
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Son Heung-min scored twice to give Bayer Leverkusen a 2-1 win at Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League on Tuesday, putting the German team on the brink of qualifying for the knockout stages.
The South Korean striker opened the scoring in the 68th minute with a fierce shot from outside the box after a well-worked team free-kick routine.
Son struck again five minutes later, finishing calmly after a through ball from Stefan Kiessling.
Zenit earned a late consolation when substitute Jose Salomon Rondon scored in the 89th.
Leverkusen is top of Group C with nine points. If second-place Monaco avoids defeat against Benfica later Tuesday, Leverkusen will need just one point from its last two group games to secure qualification.
Zenit is third in the group and has not won any of its last three Champions League matches.
Until Rondon’s late goal, the St. Petersburg side had also been heading for a third straight European game without scoring.
Striker Alexander Kerzhakov missed several chances as Zenit dominated the first half, firing at Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno on 21 minutes when clear through on goal.
Two minutes later, Kerzhakov sent a shot wide from a good position. Brazilian striker Hulk came closest to scoring in the early stages as his 13th-minute free kick brushed the post.
Leverkusen struggled to create clear-cut chances until Son’s goals and could have gone behind on 63 minutes, but defender Emir Spahic stopped Kerzhakov in the box with a last-ditch tackle.