Europa League

Bayer Leverkusen pulls off dramatic comeback to secure Europa League final berth

In a nail-biting semifinal clash against Roma, Bayer Leverkusen showcased their resilience by salvaging a 2-2 draw with a dramatic 97th-minute equalizer, thus maintaining their unbeaten streak and advancing to the final of the Europa League.

The match seemed to be slipping away from Leverkusen as two penalties from Argentine World Cup winner Leandro Paredes propelled Roma to a 2-0 lead.

However, a stroke of luck came Leverkusen’s way as an own goal from Gianluca Mancini provided a lifeline. Then, in the dying moments of extra time, defender Josip Stanisic emerged as the hero, netting the crucial equalizer that sealed Leverkusen’s place in the final.

With this result, Leverkusen extended their unbeaten run to an impressive 49 matches this season, surpassing Benfica’s 60-year-old record for the most unbeaten matches in a row in European football history.

This remarkable feat not only solidifies Leverkusen’s place in the annals of European football but also underscores their dominance throughout the campaign.

Moreover, the achievement holds special significance for manager Xabi Alonso, who becomes the sixth Spanish manager to reach the Europa League final.

Alonso joins an esteemed list of compatriots including Rafa Benitez, Quique Sanchez Flores, Julen Lopetegui, Jose Luis Mendilibar, and the record competition winner, Unai Emery. His success further contributes to Spain’s dominance in producing top-tier coaching talent for European competitions.

As Leverkusen prepares for the final showdown, Alonso’s leadership and the team’s indomitable spirit have captured the attention of top European clubs, elevating their status as contenders on the continental stage.

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