Bayer Leverkusen showed Royale Union Saint-Gilloise the UEFA Europa League exit door following a 4-nil victory at the Lotto park.
Victor Boniface’s side welcomed the Germans to Belgium with the hope of taking their Europa League dreams further. Still, the Neverkusen crushed their dream to secure their first European semi-final since 2001.
The Europa League debutants have performed well so far in the competition, pushing over Union Berlin to reach the quarterfinals. But after a 1-1 draw in Germany, Xabi Alonso’s players responded with a thumping in Belgium.
Moussa Diaby scored one of the Europa League’s quickest goals, rounding Anthony Moris to score only two minutes into the game after a mistake in the Unionists’ defenders.
The Belgians attempted to equalise at the conclusion of the first half, but Adam Hlozek’s cross found Mitchel Bakker, who blasted past the 32-year-old goalie.
It was anticipated that after a pep talk in the dressing room, Karel Geraerts’ players would find some balance in the game, but Dutch defender Jeremi Frimpong added more salt to the Belgian’s injury by scoring the third goal.
Casper Terho’s effort caught Lukas Hradecky off guard in the 65th minute, giving the home side a glimmer of hope, but it was not enough as Hlozek pounced on a rebound to win the victory for the visitors.
Boniface continued his great performance throughout the game, but despite the home side’s several attempts, Leverkusen’s defenders expertly kept it out.
Union SG is now second in the Juplier Pro League rankings, and a continuation of their strong success would see them return to European tournaments.
Photo credit: Twitter/Royale Union Saint-Gilloise