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Grimaldo shines as Leverkusen dispatch Qarabag in style

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

Coming into tonight’s clash with Qarabag on a six-game winning streak, Xabi Alonso was hopeful of yet another three-point reward. His Werkself side eventually made light work of their Azerbaijani opponents as they cruised to a 5-1 victory.
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Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
It took all of 4 minutes for Leverkusen to make the breakthrough this evening. Granit Xhaka slipped Grimaldo into space down the flank. The Spaniard’s cross slid into the path of Florian Wirtz to slot home. There was a slight lapse in concentration when Xhaka sent Juninho tumbling for a penalty. Bayramov remained unwavering to convert for 1-1.

Bayer didn’t panic and would restore their advantage just before the half hour mark. Wirtz and Grimaldo swapped roles this time around – the German starlet bided his time for his wing-back to arrive and finish. Victor Boniface added his name to the scoresheet with a stunning 20-metre half volley to give Bayer a 3-1 interval lead.

As if playing like a conventional number nine, Grimaldo netted his second of the night on 55 minutes. Once again, Wirtz supplied the killer pass and Grimaldo curled home beyond ex-Leverkusen goalkeeper Lunev. The subsequent attack left Bayer 5-1 to the good as Lunev repelled Boniface initially but seldom little could prevent Tapsoba gobbling up the rebound.

With one eye on this weekend’s clash with Freiburg, Alonso called Palacios, Boniface, Tapsoba, and Wirtz ashore. Grimaldo came within the crossbar’s breadth from notching his hat-trick with a long-range freekick. Ultimately, Xabi Alonso can be more than satisfied with another substantial win, maintaining their 100% record in Group H.

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