Kenyan winger plugs away as 10-man FC Koln beaten by Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen

Linton Maina contests for the ball with Alex Grimaldo || Imago

STARS ABROAD Kenyan winger plugs away as 10-man FC Koln beaten by Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen

Mark Kinyanjui 20:35 - 03.03.2024

Maina did create a big chance which was not converted as Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen proved too strong for his Koln side.

Harambee Stars prospect Linton Maina featured but could not help FC Koln prevent an inevitable defeat to Xabi Alonso's high-flying Bayer Leverkusen, who secured a gritty 2-0 victory on Sunday.

Maina, who has scored one goal and registered two assists for the struggling Bundesliga outfit this season, barely got the ball, only making 10 successful passes from 10 attempts, but did at least create a big chance that was not capitalised on. He was substituted after 83 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Bundesliga title now looks as though it may be quickly slipping away from reigning champions Bayern Munich, with Tomas Tuchel’s outfit drawing 2-2 against Freiburg on Friday afternoon. 

Leverkusen took advantage of a numerical mismatch against Koln after Jan Thielmann of Koln received a straight red card in the 14th minute for a foul on Granit Xhaka.

 Leverkusen dominated the first half with 72% possession but had to be patient for their opening goal.

The breakthrough came when Alex Grimaldo delivered a dangerous cross into the Koln penalty area. 

Patrik Schick cleverly flicked the ball behind him to find an unmarked Jeremy Frimpong in the penalty area, who calmly tapped in with his right foot to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, Leverkusen, under the management of Alonso, increased their intensity, registering nine attempts on goal but struggled to convert them. 

The second goal arrived in the 73rd minute when Grimaldo, who had an outstanding performance, received a pass from Amine Adli inside the penalty area. 

Grimaldo thumped a low strike at goal, seemingly deflecting off the inside of Koln goalkeeper Marvin Schwabe's thigh before finding the back of the net. This secured a 2-0 victory for Bayer Leverkusen.

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