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Bayer Leverkusen Defeats Roma, Reaches Europa League Final

Photo : AFP

Bayer Leverkusen secured their place in the Europa League final, defeating Roma 4-2 on aggregate with a dramatic 2-2 draw at home. The match was marked by a stoppage-time goal from Josip Stanisic, extending Leverkusen's unbeaten run to an impressive 49 games.

In a rematch of last season's Europa League semi-final, Roma entered the match trailing 2-0 from the first leg but managed to level the tie with penalties from Leandro Paredes in each half. Despite having less possession, Roma fought hard and capitalized on Leverkusen's defensive lapses.

With the match seemingly heading for extra time, Leverkusen's Alex Grimaldo curled in a corner that Roma goalkeeper Mile Svilar failed to catch, resulting in an own goal from Gianluca Mancini. Leverkusen's hopes were kept alive by Stanisic's late goal, breaking Benfica's European unbeaten record dating back to 1965.

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Leverkusen boss Alonso expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance, highlighting their resilience and mentality. Midfielder Granit Xhaka praised the team's desire and determination, emphasizing their commitment to bringing the Europa League trophy back to Leverkusen.

Bayer Leverkusen will face Atalanta in the final in Dublin on May 22, with hopes of securing a remarkable treble still alive.

During the match, Leverkusen coach Alonso made six changes to the lineup, including leaving star attackers Florian Wirtz, Victor Boniface, and Patrik Schick on the bench. Despite the changes, Leverkusen displayed creative and fluid movement, dominating the game from the start.

Roma, on the other hand, attempted to unsettle Leverkusen with aggressive play, resulting in multiple yellow cards. However, Leverkusen remained unfazed and continued to create scoring opportunities.

The match saw several pivotal moments, including Palacios hitting the post for Leverkusen and Paredes converting two penalties for Roma. Leverkusen fought back with Grimaldo's corner and Stanisic's counter-attack goal, securing their spot in the final.

Roma coach Daniele De Rossi praised his team's performance, describing it as heroic despite the loss. However, Leverkusen's resilience proved too much for Roma to overcome, ensuring their progression to the Europa League final.

May 10, 2024 4:33 p.m. 496

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