Wolfsburg, Leverkusen reap 2-1 victory in Europa League

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-21 07:52:27|Editor: huaxia

BERLIN, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Goals from Lucas Alario and Kai Havertz helped Bayer Leverkusen to beat FC Porto 2-1 meanwhile Wolfsburg bounced back from one goal down to edge Malmo FF 2-1 in the first leg of Europa League's round of the last 32 on Thursday.

Leverkusen controlled possession from the kick off and rattled the woodwork with 20 minutes played when Havertz hit the crossbar from 10 meters. Kerem Demirbay tried to capitalize on the subsequent rebound but his shot on target got blocked.

The hosts remained on the front foot and eventually opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Alario tapped home a flicked on cross at the second post from very close range.

Porto lacked in penetration and had to swallow the 2-0 deficit ten minutes into the second half as Wilson Manafa brought down Kevin Volland inside the box allowing Havertz to double the lead from the penalty spot with his second attempt. Havertz' first attempt was saved but had to be retaken due to encroachment.

The visitors from Portugal suddenly sparked to life and threw all men up front. Their efforts got rewarded in the 73rd minute when Luis Diaz marked a crucial away goal to reduce the arrears.

Leverkusen tried to respond but neither Volland nor Alario were able to restore their two-goal lead in the closing period.

With the result, Leverkusen will take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg on the road at Porto.

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg turned the tides against Malmo FF and secured a 2-1 comeback victory in front of home crowd.

Malmo kept all their men behind the ball and made Wolfsburg's life difficult. The "Wolves" pressed Malmo into the defence from the start but still they had to wait until the 37th minute to create a clearcut chance as Josip Brekalo hit the bar with only goalkeeper Johan Dahlin to beat.

After the restart, Malmo got a hand ball penalty awarded and marked the opener against the run of the game as Isaac Kiese Thelin overcame Koen Casteels into the bottom left corner.

Malmo's surprising lead did not last long as Brekalo finished off a solo run with a goal from the edge of the box into the top right corner three minutes later.

Wolfsburg remained aggressive and completed their comeback at the hour mark when Admir Mehmedi headed home Maximilian Arnold's free kick into the box.

The hosts retracted and protected their narrow lead to the end whereas Malmo failed to pose any kind of threat in the closing stages.