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Leipzig holds Hoffenheim, stays on course for Champions League


IANS Leipzig (Germany)
A goal from defender and captain Willi Orban one minute before the end allowed Leipzig to salvage a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim in an electric Bundesliga duel here.
Leipzig and Hoffenheim showed at the Red Bull Arena here on Monday why they are two of the most attractive teams in the German Bundesliga, reports Efe news.
Both teams' attacking spirit led to a thrilling duel in which only the lack of success at the final whistle prevented a true festival of goals.
There were more than enough chances for both Leipzig and Hoffenheim to increase their score, but both fell short of expectations.
Hoffenheim had up to three chances before Croatian Andrej Kramaric scored the opening goal in the 22nd minute, sending Leipzig's Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi's rebound into the net after an initial shot from Brazilian Joel inton.
The goal did not deter Leipzig, who, despite the risk of Hoffenheim's dazzling counter-attacks, eagerly sought the equaliser, which was avoided in the last play of the first half by visiting goalkeeper Oliver Baumann when he miraculously cleared a shot by Austrian Konrad Laimer with his foot.
It was not the only superb action of the Hoffenheim goalkeeper who avoided the home team's equaliser in the 54th minute with another classy intervention , after a header from Leipzig captain Orban.
But even as Leipzig proved continuously dangerous, their opponents were no less incisive, and they nearly increased their lead five minutes from time with a header from their Hungarian striker Adam Szalai forcing the local goalkeeper to shine.
However, the Hoffenheim goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent Orban's late goal, which he scored in the 89th minute, finally achieving the 1-1 draw, aft er a left-footed cross from Marcel Halstenberg.
Leipzig, which had to make do without their striker Timo Werner due to illness, stays in fourth place of the Bundesliga, the last spot to qualify for the Champions League.
The draw allows fourth-placed Leipzig to stay alive in the fight for third place with Moenchengladbach, and Hoffenheim to keep a close eye on European places, now being only three points below them.

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First Published: Feb 26 2019 | 11:18 AM IST

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