Football: 'Ghost goal' helps Leverkusen spirit away top spot

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

Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling had headed wide in the 70th minute, with the ball creeping through a small hole in the side netting of the Hoffenheim goal.

But the referee awarded the goal despite the angry protests of Hoffenheim, who were 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.

Leverkusen, on 22 points, have a two-point lead over Bayern Munich, who can reclaim top spot with a win over Mainz on Saturday.

It was Leverkusen's seventh Bundesliga win of the season and gave the team coached by Sami Hyppia a timely boost ahead of their Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.