Gentner wins it at death for Wolfsburg
Thursday, March 18, 2010
VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 FC Rubin Kazan (aet, agg: 3-2)
Christian Gentner's goal in the penultimate minute of overtime took the Bundesliga titleholders into the last eight.
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VfL Wolfsburg became the final side to book their place in the last eight of the UEFA Europa League after Christian Gentner's goal in the penultimate minute of extra time gave them a 3-2 aggregate victory against FC Rubin Kazan.
The German titleholders fell behind in the first leg before salvaging a 1-1 draw on the night and were again in arrears in the return. Alan Kasaev put Rubin in front on 21 minutes and it was not until Obafemi Martins climbed off the substitutes' bench that Wolfsburg drew level thanks to the striker's swooping header. The sides remained inseparable for the rest of normal time and for all but one of the extra 30 minutes. Then Gentner struck, firing in to see off Rubin, who had César Navas sent off, and settle matters once and for all.
Wolfsburg dominated early on and almost took the lead after 15 minutes, but Sergei Ryzhikov got down smartly to stop Ashkan Dejagah connecting with Edin Džeko's low cross. However, it was the visitors who drew first blood on 21 minutes. Aleksandr Bukharov held the ball up, and his clever pass was drilled home by Kasaev.
Bukharov nearly turned sinner at the other end moments later, but his misplaced defensive header was fisted over by Ryzhikov. Right on half-time Alexander Madlung made a double block to smother shots by Bukharov and Hasan Kabze, though it was the Wolves who took the initiative after the restart. First Džeko headed Zvjezdan Misimović's cross over, then Ashkan Dejagah's searing drive narrowly cleared the bar.
The pressure finally told on 58 minutes when Džeko turned the ball across goal for Martins to head in. Ryzhikov then made a superb diving save from Misimović's curling effort to take the game into extra time. Neither side seemed capable of forcing a decider, but with seconds remaining Martins wriggled clear on the right and squared for Gentner, who calmly slotted home to see his side through to the last eight.