Union Saint-Gilloise 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen (2-5 agg): Alonso's side book Europa League last four spot

By Sports Desk April 20, 2023

Bayer Leverkusen waltzed into the Europa League semi-finals with a 4-1 defeat of Union Saint-Gilloise, sealing a 5-2 win on aggregate.

Xavi Alonso's Leverkusen went into Thursday's quarter-final second leg without a win in their past three visits to Belgium in European matches, but the Bundesliga side got the job done.

Moussa Diaby's coolly taken goal settled their nerves in the second minute, with Mitchel Bakker drilling in from close range to double the visitors' lead before half-time.

Bakker played a key role in Leverkusen's third, pressuring Union goalkeeper Anthony Moris into a dreadful clearance which was turned into an empty net by Jeremie Frimpong following what had been a bright start to the second half from the hosts.

Union got their reward for a spirited response when Casper Terho pulled one back with a deflected strike, but it proved to be only a consolation, with Adam Hlozek on hand to add further gloss to Leverkusen's win late on.

Leverkusen are into their first European semi-final since making the last four of the Champions League in 2002.

Related items

  • No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad

    Dorival Junior has stuck with the same 26-man squad he provisionally selected for Brazil's 2024 Copa America campaign.

    Juventus' Bremer, Atalanta midfielder Ederson and Porto forward Pepe were all called up when CONMEBOL announced the squads were being expanded from 23 players to 26.

    The Brazilian had already had to make changes after Manchester City's Ederson was ruled out due to an injury sustained at the end of the Premier League season, with Rafael brought in to replace him.

    Lucas Paqueta also keeps his place after the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed he would be allowed to stay with the squad despite being charged by the England Football Association (FA) for allegedly breaching betting rules.

    Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Thiago Silva had already been left out of the provisional squad announced in May, while Richarlison and Neymar are both missing due to injury.

    Brazil are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will begin their campaign against Costa Rica on June 24 before also facing Paraguay and Colombia in Group D.

    Final Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Bento (Atletico PR), Rafael (Sao Paolo), Beraldo (PSG), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Guilherme Arana (Atletico MG), Wendell (Porto), Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Ederson (Atalanta), Joao Gomes (Wolves), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Endrick (Palmeiras), Evanilson (Porto), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Pepe (Porto), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

  • Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football

    Raphinha has responded to Kylian Mbappe's claims that the Euros are harder than the World Cup by reminding the Frenchman who beat them in the 2022 final.

    In an interview, Mbappe noted that France had not won the European Championships in 24 years, which is something he will be looking to change this year.

    That observation then led to him saying, "The Euros is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other, and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult."

    However, Brazil's Raphinha was not happy with the 25-year-old's comparison, pointing out that Argentina prevented them from winning the World Cup in 2022.

    "Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he lost a World Cup against a South American team," Raphinha said in a press conference ahead of the Copa America.

    The Barcelona winger also referenced other comments made by Mbappe from a couple of years ago. The new Real Madrid star implied World Cup qualification was easier in South America than in Europe, and suggested the football "wasn't as advanced".

    Raphinha added, "I would like to see the European teams playing in the South American qualifiers on the fields where we play. That's when I'd see if it's easy or hard."

    Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Costa Rica on June 24, while France will face Austria in their Euro 2024 opener on Monday.

  • Pavlovic signs two-year contract extension with Bayern Pavlovic signs two-year contract extension with Bayern

    Aleksandar Pavlovic has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Bayern Munich until 2029.

    Pavlovic's current contract was due to run out in 2027, but the club have chosen to trigger a two-year extension.

    The 20-year-old enjoyed an impressive breakout campaign in 2023-24, in which he made 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

    Pavlovic joined Bayern as a seven-year-old and was handed his debut for the first team in November last year when he came off the bench to assist Harry Kane in a 4-0 victory.

    His club form earned him a call-up to Germany's squad for Euro 2024, but he was forced to withdraw after coming down with tonsillitis days before the opener against Scotland.

    "Unfortunately, this tonsillitis has denied me my dream of playing in the European Championship on home turf, which is very disappointing – but I'm thrilled that my contract with FC Bayern has been extended until 2029," Pavlovic said.

    "It shows the club has trust in me, which I'm eager to repay. FC Bayern is my home. I'm proud, happy and grateful, want to win trophies with the team and continue my personal development."

    Pavlovic made 19 appearances in the Bundesliga this season, winning 15 of those, with the team scoring 54 goals in the process.

    In the 15 games that the midfielder missed in the league, Bayern won just eight times, conceding 14 more goals.  

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.