RB Leipzig are in the semifinals of the UEFA Europa League! After a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their quarter final against Atalanta, Domenico Tedesco’s side won 2-0 away in Italy.
The hosts enjoyed a fast start to the game and put Leipzig under pressure early on. However, RBL stayed solid at the back and found the perfect response. Midfielder Konrad Laimer charged down the right wing and got into an advanced position, before cutting back to Christopher Nkunku as he bore down on goal. Christo did what he does best and finished into the back of the net, with the help of the post, to give his team the lead in the 18th minute. The Red Bulls controlled the game after their goal and had a couple more chances to increase their advantage before half time through Angeliño (30’) and Konni Laimer (40’).
Atalanta had a shout for a penalty shortly after the change of ends. A free kick on the edge of the area was shot at Dani Olmo, and after a VAR check, referee Mateu Lahoz decided against awarding a penalty for handball (51’). At the other end, Laimer (55’) and Nkunku (68’) came close again but were denied on separate occasions by Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso.
Tedesco’s team were clever in their play and were comfortable with the one-goal lead. The chance came to double the advantage and close out the tie from the penalty spot in the 87th minute, when Nkunku was brought down by Musso as he attempted to go round him. The forward stepped up, coolly as ever, to convert his own spot kick and send RBL to the semifinals!
Musso - Palomino, Koopmeiners, Boga (70' Miranchuk), Freuler (C, 88' Pašalić), De Roon, Mailonvskyi (58' Muriel), Demiral (70' Scalvini), Hateboer, Zappacosta, Zapata
Unused subs: Rossi, Sportiello, Pezzella, Djimsiti, Mihăilă, Pessina, Cittadini
Gulácsi (C) - Simakan, Angeliño, Orbán, Nkunku, Olmo, Laimer (73' Adams), Gvardiol (79' Halstenberg), Silva (63' Szoboszlai), Henrichs (73' Klostermann), Kampl (79' Poulsen)
Unused subs: Martínez, Tschauner, Forsberg, Mukiele, Raebiger, Novoa
Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
Zapata (58'), Freuler (59'), Koopmeiners (75'), Hateboer (90'+2) - Henrichs (49'), Orbán (62'), Simakan (90'+5)
0:1 Nkunku (18.), 0:2 Nkunku (Foulelfmeter, 87.)
19,500 | Stadio di Bergamo
First half highlights:
We’re underway in Bergamo!
The hosts get off to a strong start and attack early on as RBL have difficulties finding their way into the match in the opening minutes.
Zappacosta takes a shot from a tight angle from the left of the box. Gulácsi is on hand to parry the shot.
Our first shot on target! Silva cuts the ball back to Henrichs on the edge of the box, but his shot from 16 metres out is blocked and goes out for a corner.
Silva lets loose a shot from range, but doesn’t fully connect with the ball and it sails harmlessly over the bar.
Malinovskyi tries a shot from a right angle, but Gulácsi is easily able to deal with his effort.
18th minute, GOOAAL for RB Leipzig!
We take the lead! Laimer storms down the right wing and into the box before laying it back for Nkunku, who smashes a shot off the right post and into the back of the net.
RBL have found their footing and taken control of the game, after Atalanta had been pressing hard in the opening stages of the match. Christo’s finish has give our team the lead they had been looking for – time for more of the same!
Nkunku finds Silva on the counter-attack, but his pass is intercepted by an Atalanta defender.
Angeliño pushes forward and gets on the end of a pass from Nkunku. He’s forced to take it on his weaker right foot, as Musso makes the save.
Koopmeiners’ shot from 16 metres out is deflected and falls to Zapata, but Gulácsi once again denies the hosts.
Gvardiol plays a square ball to Laimer just outside the penalty area, but his shot flies just wide of the right post.
We take a narrow but deserved 1-0 lead with us into the break. Just 45 minutes separate us from the semi-finals!
Second half highlights:
The referee gets the second half underway, with no changes to report for either side.
Koopmeiners sends a free-kick into the wall, as Henrichs is shown a yellow card for a handball. De Roon steps up to take the resulting free-kick, which is blocked once again, this time by Olmo. Lahoz consults with VAR and reviews the scene at the pitchside monitor, before deciding to not award a penalty.
Big chance to double the lead! A ball looking for Silva doesn’t find its mark and rolls harmlessly through to Musso. However, the goalkeeper takes his eye off the ball and lets it roll past him. Laimer nips in but Musso gets back to save at the final second.
Orbán receives a yellow card for a foul on Muriel. He'll miss the first leg of the semi final, should we get there.
Zappacosta crosses a dangerous ball in from a free kick on the left. Hateboer is the one to meet it but shoots over the bar. And breathe!
Kampl finds Nkunku, who drops the shoulder and beats Palomino down the left before shooting from a narrow angle. Musso saves.
Fifteen minutes away from the semifinals. The team are defending well and look quite comfortable. Atalanta have made some more attacking-minded changes and are looking to attack more.
Tedesco reacts with a few changes of his own. The second double substitution sees Poulsen and Halstenberg on for Kampl and Gvardiol.
86th minute, penalty for Leipzig:
Nkunku is played in by Poulsen from the edge of the area. His first touch is a little bit heavy but he gets to the ball before the goalkeeper who brings him down. Referee Lahoz points to the spot!
87th minute, GOOOAL for Leipzig:
CHRISTOOO! Nkunku steps up and converts into the top left corner. 2-0 and that surely puts the tie to bed!.
Seven minutes of added time.
Simakan is shown a yellow card. He'll also miss the first leg of the semi final.
Full time! RB Leipzig reach the Europa League semifinals! What a performance!