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Hrgota shines as Gladbach ease past Zürich

VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-0 FC Zürich
Branimir Hrgota struck a delicious Karel Poborský-style scoop as the German side made light work of Zürich to seal a last-32 spot.

Branimir Hrgota celebrates after making it 2-0
Branimir Hrgota celebrates after making it 2-0 ©Getty Images

Dominant Mönchengladbach top Group A, joining Villarreal in last 32
Branimir Hrgota scores two, the second a Karel Poborský-style scoop
Patrick Herrmann hits fourth UEFA Europa League goal of 2014/15
Zürich still seeking first win in seven trips to Germany (D1 L6)
Round of 32 draw takes place in Nyon at 13.00CET on 15 December

Branimir Hrgota scored a sumptuous lob to seal a commanding 3-0 victory for VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach against FC Zürich and a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Hrgota had scored just once since August before this Group A decider and the confidence evidently flowed back after he doubled a lead established by Patrick Herrmann on 31 minutes. There were shades of Karel Poborský's 1996 vintage effort as he collected a swiftly taken free-kick and, with David Da Costa coming out to meet him, scooped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Zürich kicked off knowing only a win would be enough, but it was the home side who quickly gained the upper hand, tightening their grip during a dominant first half. They could have been 2-0 up before Herrmann broke the deadlock, pouncing on Hrgota's deflected pass and firing in his fourth of the season in this competition.

Far from satisfied with their efforts, the Bundesliga outfit kept coming back hungry for more. Hrgota fired millimetres wide and then Ibrahima Traoré, a thorn in left-back Nico Elvedi's side throughout, streaked down the flank before curling a shot around the keeper but against the post.

The second goal duly came before the hour, however, as Raffael and Hrgota combined brilliantly, exchanging three one-touch passes before the Sweden striker turned in. Only a marvellous Da Costa save denied Raffael a third, but there was nothing the keeper could do when Hrgota was sent through moments later.