By Michael Harrold
Two late goals from substitute Florin Cernat took FC Dynamo Kyiv to the top of UEFA Champions League Group B after a thrilling victory against Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Valeriy Lobanovskiy stadium.
Diogo Rincón had given Dynamo a 1-0 half-time lead, but Leverkusen hit back strongly after the break. Goals from Ukrainian substitute Andriy Voronin and Jens Nowotny put the German side 2-1 in front, only for Rincón to reply immediately for Dynamo. With 16 minutes left Cernat restored Dynamo's lead, and he made sure of the points when he tapped in his second in added time.
Dynamo coach Jozsef Szabo did not risk playmaker Valentin Belkevich as he returns to fitness, but Brazilian defender Rodolfo was available after suspension and replaced Oleh Gusev, the only change to the side awarded victory over AS Roma on Matchday 1.
Leverkusen coach Klaus Augenthaler made one change from the team that opened the campaign with a 3-0 defeat of Real Madrid CF. Defender Roque Junior was out with a groin problem, but Nowotny had recovered from injury to take his place.
Voronin started on the substitutes' bench on his return to his homeland as Augenthaler, looking to break a run of three matches without victory, stuck with the in-form França and Dimitar Berbatov. But the front two hardly saw the ball in an opening period controlled largely by the home side.
On 17 minutes Jerko Leko created the first chance for Rincón, who shot over from the edge of the area, but against the run of play the German side almost went ahead. The influential Robson Ponté sent Paul Freier clear on the right, but the midfield player sent a low shot wide.
Three minutes later, Dynamo were in front. Freier was again involved, but this time in defence, though he could only watch as Rincón burst past him before a curling shot beyond Hans-Jörg Butt and in off the far post. Dynamo deserved their lead, but it was almost taken from them five minutes later by the brilliance of Ponté, whose curling free-kick crashed off the crossbar with Olexandr Shovkovskiy beaten.
Dynamo finished the half the stronger and ought to have gone into the break further ahead, Rincón getting the ball caught between his legs when well placed. But the game swung away from the home side after the restart as Leverkusen attacked with venom.
The ineffective França made way for Voronin and the Ukrainian made his presence felt almost immediately, equalisinf for Leverkusen from close range on 59 minutes after Ponté's fierce drive had been palmed down by Shovkovskiy. The German side were in the ascendancy and went ahead on 68 minutes. Nowotny broke forward and played a one-two with Voronin which split the Dynamo defence, before sliding the ball past Shovkovskiy to turn the game on its head.
Dynamo regain lead
But a lapse of concentration gave the momentum back to Dynamo just 60 seconds later, when a mix-up between Carsten Ramelow and Juan allowed Rincón to steal in and draw Dynamo level. And the home side regained the lead with 16 minutes remaining, when Kleber picked out Cernat for the substitute to fire in.
Leverkusen threw men forward in search of the equaliser but there was no way back when Voronin was sent off on 82 minutes. Cernat made sure of victory and top spot in Group B with his second goal in added time, as Dynamo won by the same scoreline when these two sides met five years ago.