In a game that certainly picked up right where it left off after a hectic first leg in Leverkusen last week, Die Werkself edged past Monaco on penalties after a Europa League classic. Goals from Wirtz, Palacios and Adli saw the game finish 2-3 (AET) on the night, 5-5 on aggregate and 3-5 on penalties, with Bayer Leverkusen progressing to the last 16.
|Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
There was no time to celebrate, though, as just 6 minutes later Edmond Tapsoba took down 18-year-old forward Eliesse Ben Seghir inside the area with Wissam Ben Yedder converting the resulting penalty. Leverkusen found themselves behind again.
If you thought Monaco's response was quick, just under 2 minutes later Ezequiel Palacios fired home from range after the Ligue 1 side failed to deal with a corner, restoring Bayer's lead on the night and levelling the tie up on aggregate.
Unsurprisingly, the game fell into a slight lull after this, with both sides trying to get some control over affairs. Adam Hlozek with the best effort before half time, forcing a decent save from Bayern Munich loanee Alexander Nubel.
A quiet start to second half was brought to life by a sensational header from Amine Adli after an inch perfect ball from the man of the moment - Florian Wirtz - which put Leverkusen in front in the tie. The game now 5-4 on aggregate.
Moments later Monaco had a rare venture forward when Wissam Ben Yedder unleashed a brilliant effort which rattled the underside of the crossbar and bounced out - a lucky escape for Die Werkself.
On the hour mark, Mitchel Bakker found himself baring down on goal and smashed past Nubel in the Monaco net. He thought he had wrapped up the tie until he saw the linesman's flag raised on the far side.
With 20 minutes left, Alonso's men should have been out of sight with Hlozek and Frimpong both having opportunities. Monaco began to apply some pressure with Lukas Hradecky coming to the rescue to stop Ben Seghir from bringing Monaco level.
With 84 minutes on the clock, and Leverkusen inviting pressure on, Krepin Diatta whipped in a ball onto the head of former Gladbach and Schalke man Breel Embolo, who nodded past the rooted Lukas Hradecky in the Leverkusen goal.
Despite thinking he had won it for Monaco with the last kick of the game, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the end line before Edan Diop's strike rifled into the bottom left corner.
It would take extra time, at the very least, to seperate these two after 180 minutes of pure entertainment.
The first half of extra time was pretty even with both sides beginning to look at bit leggy, with no real clear sights of goal at either end.
Former Leverkusen man, Kevin Volland, had a golden opportunity to win it for Monaco with less than 5 minutes to go, but his header from close range was parried away by Hradecky - which saw the game taken to a penalty shootout. How fitting for a classic such as this.
Monaco were the first to blink with Myron Boadu hammering his attempt off the crossbar, while Leverkusen remained flawless in the shootout with substitute Moussa Diaby the man to win it, squeezing his effort passed Kubel in the Monaco goal.
Leverkusen progress to the last 16 after a Europa League classic.