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Leverkusen strikes late to hold Bayern in Munich to declare itself a Bundesliga title contender

Leverkusen's Exequiel Palacios Leverkusen's Exequiel Palacios - The Canadian Press

MUNICH (AP) — Exequiel Palacios scored a penalty in injury time for Bayer Leverkusen to hold 11-time defending champion Bayern Munich 2-2 away and declare itself a Bundesliga title contender on Friday.

Dayot Upamecano scored with the last kick of the game for Bayern, but the France defender was confirmed offside by a video review and Thomas Tuchel’s team had to settle for a point against the only other side to have started the league with three wins.

It seemed like Leon Goretzka had earned Bayern a late win to maintain the champion’s perfect start.

Substitute Mathys Tel crossed from the left and found Goretzka free in the middle to fire what many presumed was the winner in the 86th minute.

“It looked like we landed the lucky punch, but then we had the iffy decision against us,” Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel said.

Alphonso Davies was penalized through VAR for a foul on Jonas Hofmann and Palacios scored the equalizer in the fourth minute of stoppages.

“A very soft penalty,” Bayern veteran Thomas Müller complained. “It wouldn't have been awarded in England.”

Referee Daniel Schlager defended his decision, saying there was contact between Davies' leg and Hofmann's calf.

Harry Kane earlier scored again for Bayern. The club's record-signing was left free at the far post to head in the opener from a corner in the seventh minute. Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba headed on Leroy Sané’s corner and Granit Xhaka wasn’t close enough to Kane to prevent the England captain grabbing his fourth goal in four games.

Alejandro Grimaldo equalized with a perfectly struck free kick into the top right corner in the 24th after he had been fouled in front of the penalty area with a high foot from Müller.

Müller and Tuchel also complained about that decision. Tuchel was booked at the time for protesting while counterpart Xabi Alonso remained cool as Grimaldo celebrated in the corner.

The visitors’ confidence visibly grew after the goal. Victor Boniface went close, then had a goal ruled out for offside.

But Leverkusen also needed Lukas Hradecky at his best, first with a save to deny Müller, then another to thwart Serge Gnabry from the rebound.

Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz struck the post in the second half before the late drama.


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