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Union Saint-Gilloise 1-4 Leverkusen (agg: 2-5): Ruthless Leverkusen end Union SG run

Bayer Leverkusen scored twice in each half to reach a first European semi-final since 2002 and end Union SG's hopes of glory in the Europa League.

Jeremie Frimpong (C) celebrates after scoring Leverkusen's third of the night
Jeremie Frimpong (C) celebrates after scoring Leverkusen's third of the night Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen produced a ruthless second-leg display to end Union Saint-Gilloise's hopes of UEFA Europa League glory in the quarter-finals and reach the last four of a European competition for the first time in 21 years.

Key moments

2': Diaby rounds the keeper and squeezes in
38'
: Bakker volleys in Hložek's far-post cross
60'
: Frimpong makes it three for Leverkusen
64'
: Terho gives Union SG glimmer of hope
79'
: Hložek converts rebound after Diaby shot saved

Match in brief: Leverkusen end Union SG's fairytale run

Jeremie Frimpong is mobbed by his team-mates after Leverkusen's third goal
Jeremie Frimpong is mobbed by his team-mates after Leverkusen's third goalANP via Getty Images

Union SG hopes were high in front of a sell-out crowd in Brussels, but instead it was the visitors who struck with barely a minute played. Florian Wirtz's through ball caused havoc and Moussa Diaby pounced on a slip from defender Christian Burgess, rounding goalkeeper Anthony Moris and slotting in from an angle to put Leverkusen in front with just 66 seconds on the clock.

Diaby might have added a quick second when he skewed wide from another Wirtz pass, but Leverkusen's dominance was rewarded seven minutes before the interval. A devastating break gave Adam Hložek the chance to float a delightful cross to the back post, where Mitchel Bakker fired a controlled volley past Moris.

Union SG defender Koki Machida headed a superb Teddy Teuma free-kick narrowly over the bar before the interval as the home side sought a response, but the game was up on the hour when Bakker closed down Moris and the keeper's clearance went straight to Jeremie Frimpong, who turned it into the unguarded net.

Teenage substitute Casper Terho did pull one back with a deflected shot on the turn five minutes later, but any home hopes of a comeback were put to bed on 79 minutes when Hložek slotted in after Moris could only parry Diaby's low drive.

As it happened: Union SG 1-4 Leverkusen

Brecht Schelstraete, Union SG reporter

Brave Union SG may have come up short, but they gave it their best shot in front of a capacity crowd. Leverkusen didn't have it all their own way, but they were ruthless in front of goal and, though the home side will be a little frustrated at the manner of a couple of the goals, pride prevails among the people of Brussels tonight. Two years ago they were in the Belgian second division; today their European dream ends in the quarter-finals. A fairytale that the Unionists could only have dreamed of.

 Teddy Teuma reflects on Union SG's elimination
Teddy Teuma reflects on Union SG's eliminationBELGA/AFP via Getty Images

James Thorogood, Leverkusen reporter

For the first time in over 20 years, Leverkusen have booked their ticket to a European semi-final. Diaby, Frimpong and Wirtz will deservedly steal headlines, but the collective performance underlines the progress being made under Xabi Alonso, which is instilling a belief that the 1988 UEFA Cup winners could follow in Frankfurt's footsteps by winning the Europa League.

Reaction 

Karel Geraerts, Union SG coach: "Leverkusen were very strong, especially in the first half. They immediately punished us when we gave something away. I am very proud of my team. We tried to push to get back into the match, but unfortunately they scored a third goal. After that little knockout we came back with a goal, and suddenly you felt that anything was possible if we could find a second one."

Xabi Alonso, Leverkusen coach: "We are happy: with the game, with the way we started, with the early goal. It gave us comfort. Overall the performance was solid and professional, with good play against opponents who play very good football."

Xabi Alonso 'delighted' as Leverkusen advance

Lothar Matthäus, RTL:

"Leverkusen worked as a team and always supported each other defensively. Offensively, they were always dangerous and deserved to win."

Key stats

  • This was Union SG's first defeat in ten matches in all competitions (W6 D3).
  • The Belgian side have only failed to score in one of their last ten Europa League matches.
  • Leverkusen are unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions (W9 D3).
  • The German side have won their three away matches in this season's knockout phase and are unbeaten in eight away games in all competitions (W6 D2).
  • Leverkusen have lost only one of their last eight European matches (W4 D3).
Mitchel Bakker scores Leverkusen's second goal
Mitchel Bakker scores Leverkusen's second goalANP via Getty Images

Line-ups

Union SG: Moris; Nieuwkoop, Kandouss (Terho 46), Burgess, Machida, Lapoussin; Lynen, Amani (Puertas 81), Teuma (El Azzouzi 87); Vertessen (Adingra 32), Boniface (Nilsson 81)

Leverkusen: Hradecky; Tapsoba (Kossounou 59), Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong (Adli 71), Amiri (Demirbay 59), Andrich, Bakker; Diaby (Bellarabi 86), Hlozek (Azmoun 86), Wirtz

Leverkusen had plenty to celebrate in Belgium
Leverkusen had plenty to celebrate in BelgiumBELGA/AFP via Getty Images

What's next?

Leverkusen face Roma in the semi-finals on Thursday 11 and 18 May, playing the first leg away.