Saturday, May 25, 2024

Leverkusen to the Europa League final – overtime goals extended their unbeaten streak to 49 games


The Leverkusen camp cheers after a decisive reduction goal in the second leg against Roma in the Europa League semi-final. Photo: Matthias Schrader / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/09/2024 23:14:39

Sport: Seven minutes into extra time, Josip Stanisic scored the equalizing goal that makes Leverkusen unbeaten in 49 straight games in various tournaments.

It is a new record for a European top league team in various tournaments since the European Cups were introduced. Benfica had the old record of 48, set in the period December 1963 to February 1965.

Xabi Alonso’s men have not lost a match of significance since May 27 last year. It’s almost a year ago.

Leverkusen looked set to accept defeat en route to the club’s first European final in 22 years. An own goal from Gianluca Mancini in the 83rd minute provided the 1-2 reduction that took the German hosts into the lead on aggregate.

Roma were driven hard before Paredes’ goal in the 43rd minute, but goalkeeper Mile Svilar stalled Leverkusen’s attack. He was also important when the hosts pressed heavily ahead of Roma’s 2-0 score.

In the final, Leverkusen will face another Italian opponent in the form of Atalanta. That match will be played in Dublin on May 22.

Ademola Lookman and Matteo Ruggeri became the Bergamo team’s heroes in the second leg. The first meeting in France ended 1-1.

Lookman fired Atalanta into the lead after half an hour. The shot from about 20 meters had a significant change of direction before the ball was in the net.

Shortly after the break, Ruggeri doubled his lead with a powerful finish inside the Marseille box. Five minutes into overtime, El Bilal Touré made it 3-0.

In the quarter-finals, Atalanta took a clear 3-1 victory over Liverpool over two games. The club has not won a major title since becoming Italian Cup champions in 1963.

A week ago, Leverkusen won 2-0 in Italy, but made it far more exciting for themselves in front of their own crowd. Leandro Paredes scored both of Roma’s goals from the penalty spot.

Atalanta took care of Marseille 3-0 on their own turf on Thursday. In just under two weeks, the club will be playing for its first European trophy.

(© NTB)


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