Braga (Portugal) (AFP) – Wolves cruised through to the last 16 in the Europa League on Thursday despite a stuttering display in Spain while Roma also squeezed through and Bayer Leverkusen eliminated former European champions Porto in impressive style.
In one of the evening’s seven early matches, Wolves kicked off in a sparsely filled stadium in Catalunya with a four-goal advantage over Espanyol, the bottom club in La Liga, and gave starts to several fringe players.
Far from appearing motivated, the visitors looked happy to relax on the cushion of their lead and lost 3-2 to advance 6-3 on aggregate.
Jonathan Calleri gave the home team the lead from close range after 16 minutes.
The always menacing Adama Traore levelled six minutes later.
Argentine Calleri restored the lead after 57 minutes from the penalty spot after Max Kilman, making a rare start, fouled David Lopez.
In the 79th minute, Matt Doherty scored the second Wolves equaliser.
With three minutes to go, Pedro Neto had a chance to seal a Wolves victory. He rounded the goalkeeper only to slice his shot well wide of the empty goal.
In added time, Calleri punished Wolves with a header to complete a hat-trick. Before the game he had only scored twice for Espanyol this season.
German international midfielder Kai Havertz was the star as Bayer Leverkusen won 3-1 in Porto to eliminate the twice European champions 5-2 on aggregate.
Havertz set up Lucas Alario for the opener after 10 minutes at the Dragao. He provided another fine pass to lay on the second for Kerem Demirbay in the 50th minute.
Havertz would have had a hat-trick of assists but Porto goalie Marchesin saved Moussa Diaby’s initial shot. Havertz had to settle for a goal instead as Diaby collected the rebound and set up the midfielder for a tap in.
In Gent, Canadian Jonathan David gave the home team a 25th lead with his 10th goal in eight games to level their tie with Roma.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan then set up Justin Kluivert for Roma’s reply four minutes later.
Roma survived 22 Gent goal attempts to hold on for a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 aggregate win.
In Istanbul, Edin Visca forced extra time with a goal deep into added time for Basaksehir and then blasted the winner from the penalty spot with one minute of play left.
Martin Skrtel gave the home team a 31st minute lead and Danijel Aleksic put the home side level on aggregate on the stroke of half time. Luciano Vietto replied for Sporting in the 68th minute.
The Portuguese were going through until Visca, set up by Gael Clichy, scored with a low shot deep into added time to level the tie at 4-4.
But a minute from the end of extra time, Vietto conceded a penalty and Visca coolly converted for a 4-1 win on the night and a 5-4 aggregate victory
The game between FC Salzburg and Eintracht Frankfurt was postponed because of a forecast of dangerously high winds and will be played on Friday.
On Wednesday, Rangers gave what manager Steven Gerrard hailed a “faultless” performance as they won 1-0 victory at Braga to advance 4-2 on aggregate.
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