Europa League: Comfortable wins for Leverkusen, RB Leipzig | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 04.10.2018
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Europa League: Comfortable wins for Leverkusen, RB Leipzig

Bayer Leverkusen, who have been struggling in the Bundesliga this season, have maintained their perfect record in the Europa League. RB Leipzig made amends for a home defeat to their Austrian sister club two weeks ago.

Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 AEK Larnaka
(Havertz 44', Alario 49', 87', Brandt 90+2' – Trickovski 25', Raspas 90+1')

Bayer Leverkusen made it two wins from two in Group A after coming from behind to beat Cypriot cup winners AEK Larnaka. Goals either side of halftime from Kai Havertz and substitute Lucas Alario turned the game in the Werkself's favor after Larnarka captain Ivan Trickovski had given the visitors a shock lead.

Leverkusen had come closest to opening the scoring when Sven Bender struck the foot of the post with a volley from a corner, but he was at fault at the other end when Larnaka took the lead, failing to win a header before the ball landed at Trickovski's feet six yards out.

Leverkusen should have been awarded a penalty when Havertz was fouled in the box but the referee waved play on. When the equalizer did arrive one minute before halftime, it was no surprise that Havertz was heavily involved.

The 19-year-old started the move with a ball out to the right-hand side to Karim Bellarabi via Dominik Kohr. Bellarabi advanced to the byline and cut back to Havertz who stroked the ball home from six yards.

Coach Heiko Herrlich replaced the ineffective Leon Bailey with Lucas Alario at the break, and the substitution quickly paid dividends as the Argentinan put the hosts ahead four minutes after the restart – although he did appear to be in an offside position. 

The second half was a sloppy affair punctuated by moments of excitement from Havertz including a bicycle kick that the goalkeeper tipped over the bar and a long-range attempt that looped just wide before he was replaced by Julian Brandt for a final 20 minutes that saw three late goals.

First, Alario made it 3-1, prodding home after a neat piece of control and turn from Kevin Volland, before Larnaka's Dmitiris Raspas capitalized on careless defending to make it 3-2 in injury time. But Brandt immediately restored the two-goal cushion at the other end to make it six points and seven goals from two games for Leverkusen, despite not entirely convincing performances.

Rosenborg 1 - 3 RB Leipzig
(Jebali 79' Augustin 12', Konate 54' Cunha 61')

Ralf Rangnick's men were in charge right from the start of this contest, played on a rainy evening in Trondheim, Norway, and it took just 12 minutes for RB Leipzig to make their advantage in play count on the scoreboard.

Diego Demme played a long diagonal ball from just over the halfway line on the left, which Jean-Kevin Augustin took down in the Rosenborg area with his right foot.  The 21-year-old Frenchman then pushed it on to his left, which he used to stroke the ball into the bottom corner to the Rosenborg goalkeeper's right.

Fußball Europa League Rosenborg Trondheim - RB Leipzig Tor (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Woitas)

Matheus Cunha put away RB Leipzig's third goal just after the hour-mark to put it out of reach for Rosenborg

Throughout the rest of the first half, the Bundesliga side, who got their Europa League campaign off to a disappointing start a fortnight ago by losing at home to their sister club, Red Bull Salzburg, continued to dominate possession – and created several opportunities to increase their advantage.

However, it wasn't until early in the second half that Leipzig were able to capitalize on a corner to double their lead.  RB captain Will Orban's downward header was weak, but the ball fell kindly for Ibrahima Konate, who quickly hammered it home from close range. 

This seemed to spur the Bundesliga side on, as they created a number of good opportunities in quick succession. First, just before the hour mark, a Marcel Halstenberg free kick forced a sharp save from Rosenborg goalkeeper Andre Hansen.

In the 61st minute, Cunha would not be denied a second time. Demme started the move down the left, pushing the ball to Bruma just outside of the Norwegians'  penalty box – who in turn made a sharp pass in to Cuhna who took a couple of steps through the area before finishing confidently to make it 3-0.

The first decent chance of the evening for Rosenborg came in the 68th minute, when Jonathan Levi's free kick forced a sharp save from Yvon Mvogo, who tipped the ball over the bar.

Eleven minutes later came the breakthrough for the Norwegians: Alexander Soderlund played a ball forward for Levi, who passed it through the area past several players, before Issam Jebali's strike got Rosenborg onto the scoreboard with a consolation goal.  

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