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Leverkusen 2-2 Roma (4-2 AGG): Leverkusen Seal Dramatic Europa League Final Win Over Roma

by: EdwardB


Bayer Leverkusen secured a thrilling 4-2 aggregate victory over Roma to reach the Europa League final, capping off a night of late drama and a new European record.

Comeback Kings: Leverkusen Hold Off Roma Fightback

The Germans entered the second leg with a comfortable 2-0 lead from the first encounter. However, Roma, determined to overturn the deficit, started strong. Despite conceding most of the possession, two penalties converted by Leandro Paredes in each half brought the Italians level on the night. The tie seemed destined for extra time until a dramatic turn of events unfolded in the dying moments.

Record-Breaking Hero: Stanisic Steals the Show

With just minutes remaining, a corner from Alex Grimaldo found its way into the net after a goalkeeping error by Roma’s Mile Svilar and a deflection off Gianluca Mancini. As hope dwindled for Roma, Leverkusen loanee Josip Stanisic delivered the knockout blow. In the seventh minute of stoppage time, he capitalized on a counter-attack opportunity to score the winner, sending the Leverkusen bench into a frenzy. This late goal not only secured the final berth but also etched Leverkusen’s name in European history, breaking Benfica’s 49-year record for the longest unbeaten run in European competitions.

Alonso’s Gamble Pays Off: Youngsters Shine Despite Lineup Changes

Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso opted for a surprising starting lineup, leaving key attackers Florian Wirtz, Victor Boniface, and Patrik Schick on the bench. This gamble paid off as the young guns, led by Adam Hlozek upfront, displayed an energetic and creative display in the first half. Their dominance, however, couldn’t translate to goals on the scoreboard.

A Fiery Encounter: Roma Resort to Rough Tactics

Frustrated by Leverkusen’s dominance, Roma resorted to aggressive tactics, picking up several yellow cards in the opening 30 minutes. Exequiel Palacios was a constant target for their rough fouls, but the Argentinian midfielder almost had his revenge with a shot that came close to finding the net.

Penalty Drama: Controversial Decisions Keep Roma in the Game

The first half saw two controversial penalty decisions go Roma’s way. The first, awarded just before halftime, saw Sardar Azmoun go down under a challenge from Jonathan Tah. The second, awarded via VAR in the second half, was for a handball by Hlozek. Paredes converted both penalties, keeping Roma’s hopes alive.

Time-Wasting Tactics Haunt Roma Again

Similar to their approach in last year’s semi-final at the same venue, Roma resorted to time-wasting tactics in the second half to hold onto the lead. However, their strategy backfired as Leverkusen snatched a dramatic late equalizer and eventually the winner.

Looking Ahead: Treble Dreams Alive for Leverkusen

This victory extends Leverkusen’s remarkable unbeaten run to a record-breaking 49 games. They now set their sights on the Europa League final in Dublin on May 22nd, where they will face Atalanta. With the Bundesliga title already secured, Leverkusen have a chance to complete a historic treble.

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