Bundesliga News

Europe: Europa League
2 - 0
(1 - 0)
K. Demirbay (9), E. Tapsoba (86)

Leverkusen battle to victory over Ferencváros

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

After making light work of Hertha Berlin last weekend, Bayer Leverkusen returned to Europa League action tonight.

A Round-of-16 meeting with Hungarian champions Ferencváros etched on the cards. The sides coincidentally faced each other during last year’s group stage of the same competition, in which the Hungarian club dealt ‘Die Werkself’ their only defeat of Group G.

This time Xabi Alonso’s charges made no mistakes in gaining an early advantage in the two-legged affair. The BayArena scoreboard displayed a gritty 2-0 win in favour of the home side.
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Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
It took all of ten minutes for Leverkusen to break the deadlock. Florian Wirtz fed Kerem Demirbay who blasted home from the edge of the 18-yard-box. Bayer’s hierarchical figures of Rudi Völler and Stefan Kießling full of delight in the stands. In spite of it being a dominant first quarter for the hosts, Ferencváros constructed a fine chance of their own on 26 minutes. Vécsei clipped the ball into the path of Zachariassen who was denied by the crossbar.

A frustrated Xabi Alonso landed himself in the book as the half wore on. The Leverkusen coach, not best pleased with the decisions of the Italian arbiter, who felt he should have awarded a freekick for a foul on Frimpong. Once more Demirbay tried his luck from range before the break. The German midfielder was unable to worry Dibusz on this occasion.

Ferencvaros, under the tutelage of the famous Stanislav Cherchesov, came out aggressively after the interval. A handful of half-chances and snap shots fell the way of the visitors but there was nothing doing. Meanwhile, Wirtz and Diaby combined well before the hour mark – the Frenchman agonisingly dragged his shot wide from an acute angle.

Diaby was replaced by Hložek with 20 to play. Given the game’s tense stakes a coming together of Wirtz and Botka seemed inevitable. The yellow card received rules the latter out of the second-leg. As the clock ticked towards the 90th minute Leverkusen made it 2-0. A thunderous freekick from Hložek struck the left upright. However, Edmond Tapsoba was first to react as he guided his instinctive diving header to the empty net. Hradecký made his solitary save of the night count as he denied Zachariassen in injury time to preserve the 2-0 win.

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