Europe: Europa League
2 - 2
(2 - 0)
Y. Benzia (26), Juninho (45)
F. Wirtz (70), P. Schick (90)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Schick strikes late as Leverkusen's unbeaten run survives stern Qarabağ test

Die Werkself reacquainted themselves with former Group H opponents FK Qarabağ tonight. Xabi Alonso's side fought back from a two-goal half-time defecit to draw 2-2.
With 8 wholesale changes made, it was clear that the Bundesliga leaders would likely be in for both an interesting and experimental night in Azerbaijan. Despite two groupstage wins over their opponents earlier in the competition, Die Werkself were second best throughout the entirely of first half action.

Qarabağ forged a lead through Yassine Benzia on the half-hour mark. Slipped in by Juninho, the Algerian fired the beyond Kovar and into the left corner. Amazingly, the provider would turn goal-scorer in added time. Caught on the counter, Patrick Andrade bisected the Bayer midfield with a pin-point pass. Juninho remained remarkably composed to lift the ball over the sprawling Kovar and tap to the empty net under close attention from Jonathan Tah.

Alonso acted swiftly after the break as Frimpong and Wirtz took the field. The young German made a swift impact in the visitors' offensive output and cut the defecit to 2-1 with 20 minutes to play. A finish worthy of a second look as the 20-year-old pounced on a loose ball, withstood the challenge and delicately lobbed Lunev in the Qarabağ goal.

As rain started to fall, Qarabağ and Juninho looked to hit on the counter. This time however, the Czech shot-stopper would come out ontop in the one-on-one duel producing a fine save. Staring defeat in the eye for the first time, it looked like Leverkusen's blistering unbeaten run would end. But cometh the hour, and cometh Patrik Schick. The striker rising highest to smash home Andrich's 92nd minute cross. The tie remains nicely poised ahead of the second-leg at the BayArena next week.

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