Europe: Europa League
0 - 2
(0 - 1)
F. Wirtz (28), R. Andrich (73)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Leverkusen ransack Roma to acquire semi-final advantage

Bayer Leverkusen travelled to the Italian capital for a meeting with AS Roma in their Europa League semifinal first-leg tie which finished 2-0 thanks to goals from Wirtz and Andrich.

Despite bossing the possession figures early on, Leverkusen found themselves under the cosh in the opening stages. Roma found joy in coughing up field position for rare opportunities on the break. Daniele De Rossi's men almost made it count in the 21st-minute - the aluminium repelling Romelu Lukaku's powerful header as he latched onto a Leandro Paredes' cross. 

Die Werkself eventually started to purr and the breakthrough arrived before the half-hour mark. An aggressive press forced a lapse in concentration from Rick Karsdorp. The Dutch fullback surrendered possession, Alejandro Grimaldo squared to Florian Wirtz who picked out the bottom right corner from 12 metres. Xabi Alonso's side had further chances to double their first-half lead when Frimpong and Andrich went close before the break.

Bryan Cristante flashed narrowly wide with a glancing header upon the restart. It wasn't long before RB Leipzig loanee Angeliño replaced Karsdorp at full-back. Aside from the Roma midfielder's opportunity, Leverkusen controlled the flow of the game. The aerial bombardment perhaps Roma's most threatening front. 

On an unbeaten run spanning 46 games, Die Werkself struck again for a 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute. Grimaldo's attack down the left collapsed, but Josip Stanišić recovered possession on the right flank. Having struck for parity last weekend, Robert Andrich stepped forth again to rattle the net from 20 metres. An enormous goal in the context of the tie, while early rests could be afforded to Adli and Wirtz. First blood to Alonso's men ahead of the return leg at the BayArena next Thursday.

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