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'Ghost goal' lifts Leverkusen to top spot

Updated: 2013-10-20 08:01
( Agencies)

Bayer Leverkusen snatched top spot in the Bundesliga on Friday, but only after a "ghost goal" allowed it to beat Hoffenheim 2-1.

Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling looked to have headed wide in the 70th minute and even thrust his arms into the air in frustration at his miss.

But the ball then crept through a small hole in the side netting of the Hoffenheim goal.

The referee awarded the goal despite the angry protests of Hoffenheim, who were already trailing 1-0 at the time to Sidney Sam's 26th-minute opener. Gonzalo Castro had created the goal for Sam, who now has seven for the season.

After Kiessling's controversial goal, Hoffenheim's sense of injustice deepened further when Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved a Roberto Firmino penalty in the 83rd minute.

Sven Schipplock headed home a consolation for Hoffenheim with two minutes remaining.

Kiessling is not the first player to score a goal that never was in Germany.

On April 23, 1994, Bayern Munich defender Thomas Helmer also benefited despite the ball not going into the goal in a 2-1 win over Nuremberg.

After Nuremburg lodged a complaint, the German federation ordered the match to be replayed - and Bayern won 5-0.

Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol believes the 1994 incident has set a precedent for a replay of Friday's game.

"I think we are going to have to re-examine the TV pictures," said Gisdol.

"You cannot replay a match just for Bayern and not for Hoffenheim."

Kiessling said he had been left stunned by the incident.

"Everyone started rushing towards me. What could I do?" he told Sky.