Leverkusen stun Qarabag in five-goal thriller to book UEFA Europa League quarterfinals

Berlin, March 15 (IANS) Bayer Leverkusen bounced back from two goals down and flabbergasted ten-men Qarabag with Patrik Schick’s injury-time brace to advance into the round of the last eight following a 3-2 (5-4 on aggregate) victory on Thursday.

The match began with Leverkusen creating several early chances, though efforts from Borja Iglesias and Amine Adli were unsuccessful against Qarabag’s Andrey Lunev. The first half saw both teams coming close, with Florian Wirtz hitting the woodwork for Leverkusen just before the break, reported Xinhua

Despite dominating possession, Leverkusen conceded the first goal in the 58th minute when Abdellah Zoubir headed in from Leandro Andrade’s cross. Qarabag’s situation complicated further as Elvin Jafarguliyev received a red card shortly after.

Even with a numerical disadvantage, Qarabag extended their lead through Juninho in the 67th minute. However, Leverkusen responded quickly, with Jeremie Frimpong reducing the deficit five minutes later.

Persistence paid off for Leverkusen as Schick scored twice in injury time, first leveling the match and then securing the win with a decisive header, avoiding extra time.

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With the result, Leverkusen extended their unbeaten run to 37 competitive fixtures this season.

“A lot of things happened today. We started very well but lost control in the second half. It wasn’t our best day. I was upset when Qarabag scored with ten men. This shouldn’t happen on the level. However, it was important that we showed a response and that’s what we did,” said Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso.

–IANS


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