Leverkusen see off struggling Mainz to extend lead in Bundesliga

 - Sakshi Post

Berlin, Feb 24 (IANS) Front-runners Bayer Leverkusen extend their unbeaten run to record-breaking 33 games after goals from Granit Xhaka and Robert Andrich paved the way for a 2-1 home win over relegation threatened Mainz at the curtain raiser of the Bundesliga 23rd round.

The Werkself caught a perfect start as Xhaka's long-range hammer beat Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner in the third minute, reports Xinhua.

Leverkusen's advantage didn't last long as Dominik Kohr's diving header caught host's goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky on the wrong foot five minutes later.

The hosts dominated possession and should have taken the lead again in the 16th minute, but Jonas Hofmann couldn't beat Zentner from very close range.

Zentner had his hands full of work for the remainder of the first half, denying promising efforts from Xhaka and Alejandro Grimaldo.

Mainz started brightly into the second half but neither Phillipp Mwene nor Jae-Sung Lee was able to beat Hradecky.

Leverkusen turned up through Amine Adli's header before Zentner spilled Andrich's shot into the wrong goal to make it 2-1 on 78 minutes.

Mainz's Jessic Ngankam saw a straight red card for a rude foul on Xhaka in the 80th minute.

Xabi Alonso's men ran down the clock to snatch their fourth straight victory in Germany's top flight.

With the result, leaders Leverkusen established an 11-point advantage atop the standings. Mainz stay on the 17th place, which is a direct relegation spot.

"Mainz started with a lot of will and energy. We wanted to control the game, but we didn't produce a lot of chances today. It was important though to secure all three points here. We staged better performances in the past, but you can't play perfect in every match," said Alonso.

"We played well today. We kept Leverkusen at bay for most of the time and showed a great reaction after the early setback. I am happy with our performance, but it is annoying that we lost," commented Kohr.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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