Europe: Europa League
0 - 2
(0 - 1)
M. Diaby (3), A. Adli (81)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

French firepower ensures Leverkusen advance past Ferencváros

‘Die Werkself’ made the trip to Budapest where they would contest their second-leg meeting with Hungarian champions Ferencváros.

Having won the previous clash 2-0, and an end-to-end victory away to Bremen last weekend, Alonso decided to shuffle his pack – Kossounou, Adli, and Hložek dropped to the bench in place of Tapsoba, Wirtz, and Azmoun.
Xabi Alonso’s men got off to a flyer as they took an early 1-0 lead inside three minutes. A long ball released Diaby down the right wing, where he beat Knoester for pace and slipped it beyond Dibusz. Although Leverkusen controlled the opening quarter, Hradecký was pivotal in maintaining his side’s advantage. The Finnish shot stopper rushed off his line to fend off Gojak’s goal bound effort.

Bakker ran riot on the left and perhaps should have backed himself in front of goal just after the 30-minute mark. The hosts had a great opportunity of their own at the other end. An 38th minute strike from the lively Adama Traore deflected onto Hradecký’s crossbar and away to safety. A final Wirtz effort was comfortably dealt with by Dibusz before the half-time whistle sounded.

It looked as if Leverkusen would make a similarly quick start after the restart. While the in-form Frimpong had the ball in the net on 52 minutes, Bakker was adjudged to be offside in the build-up. Two fantastic saves by Dibusz would repel Azmoun and then Diaby via the aid of his upright, as Bayer appeared destined to extend their advantage. Meanwhile, Adli and Hložek replaced Wirtz and Azmoun, who were afforded an early rest ahead of their clash with Bayern Munich on Sunday.

Dibusz was the sole reason Leverkusen couldn’t grab a second as the clock ticked towards full-time. However, this was not to be the case for long. A perfectly weighted pass from Diaby on 81 minutes found Amine Adli on the counter. The two French compatriots combined nicely for 2-0. Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen cruise into the quarter-finals on a convincing 4-0 aggregate scoreline.

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