RB Leipzig take comfortable lead into second leg of UEFA Europa League qualifier against Universitatea Craiova
RB Leipzig will take a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League third round qualifier after goals from Ibrahima Konate, Matheus Cunha and Yussuf Poulsen against Romanian side Universitatea Craiova.
Leipzig 3-1 Craiova
Goals: 1-0 Konate (25′), 2-0 Cunha (77′), 3-0 Poulsen (87′), 3-1 Martic (90’+4)
Die Roten Bullen, who reached this stage of the competition thanks to their 5-1 aggregate win over Swedish side BK Häcken, dominated the game from the off at the Red Bull Arena and created a number of chances against their Romanian opponents. Bruma and a Kevin Kampl free-kick both came close to giving Ralf Rangnick’s side an early lead, while Stefan Ilsanker had the best chance when he headed over a corner from six yards. Leipzig did, though, break the deadlock not long after when centre-back Konate flicked on a corner into the far post for a deserved lead. Craiova’s only threat in the first half was snuffed out quickly by goalkeeper Yann Mvogo keep in his own half to deny Ionut Mitrica a free run on goal.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with Leipzig well in control and carving out chances almost at will. Summer signing Cunha was RB’s most potent threat with a number of chances to double the lead, and goalscorer Konate again had a great chance when the Romanians failed to deal with a corner, but goalkeeper Mirko Pigliacelli kept the score at just 1-0. The second goal did finally come with a quarter of an hour remaining when Cunha was rewarded for his efforts on the night, before substitute Poulsen turned home a rebound late on for a third. The visitors got a late away goal back in extra-time when Ivan Martic tucked home a cross from the left. Leipzig will look to finish the job next Thursday in Romania (kick-off: 6:30pm CEST/5:30pm BST/12:30pm ET), with a play-off berth against Zorya Luhanska or Braga at stake.
RB Leipzig: Mvogo – Klostermann, Konate, Orban (c) (Forsberg 62’), Saracchi – Kampl, Ilsanker, Demme, Bruma (Sabitzer 62’)– Augustin (Poulsen 75’), Cunha
Unused subs: Müller, Werner, Mukiele, Stierlin
Absentees: Laimer (adductor), Halstenberg (cruciate ligament), Upamecano (leg),
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Craiova: Pigliacelli – Donkor, Kelic, Ferreira (Fedele 79’), Briceag – Martic, Mateiu, Cicaldau – Mitrita (c) (Markovic 85’), Bancu, Mihaila (Baicu 25’)
Unused subs: Popescu, Popa, Burlacu, Gardos
Coach: Devis Mangia
- Konate’s goal was his first for Leipzig.
- The Bundesliga side dominated proceedings with 23 attempts to Craiova’s two.
- This is the first ever meeting between these sides.
- Craiova had previously faced Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the 1981/82 European Cup, which the Bavarians won 3-1 on aggregate.
- Leipzig advanced to the Europa League quarter-finals last season, where they lost to Olympique Marseille 5-3 on aggregate.
- The winners will play Zorya Luhansk or Braga in the play-off.
As it happened