RB Leipzig will face Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in the UEFA Europa League play-offs after easing to a 4-2 aggregate win over Romania’s Universitatea Craiova in the competition’s third qualifying round.
Goals: 0-1 Sabitzer (39'), 1-1 Baicu (85')
Leipzig went into the second leg with a 3-1 lead, but were indebted to goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo in the early stages, the Swiss custodian thwarting Raoul Baicu in the ninth minute. Ralf Rangnick’s men heeded the warning as returning midfield talisman Emil Forsberg tested Craiova stopper Mirko Pigliacelli, before Marcel Sabitzer bundled in a Kevin Kampl corner to give Leipzig the lead on the night.
Leipzig picked up where they left off after the restart, with substitute striker Jean-Kevin Augustin denied only by a sensational reflex save from Pigliacelli. Chances came and went for Sabitzer and Bruma, but Craiova refused to give up the ghost as Nicusor Bancu, Marius Briceag and Jovan Markovic tested the impressive Mvogo. Although Baicu did manage to pull one back for the hosts with an audacious lobbed effort, it was nothing more than a consolation as Die Roten Bullen moved a step closer to the 2018/19 Europa League group stage.
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Leipzig: Mvogo – Mukiele, Konate, Orban (c), Saracchi – Sabitzer (Bruma 64'), Kampl, Demme (Ilsanker 72'), Forsberg – Poulsen, Cunha (Augustin 46')
Unused subs: Müller, Klostermann
Absentees: Halstenberg (cruciate ligament), Werner (muscular)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Craiova: Pigliacelli - Donkor, Kelic, Briceag - Martic (Tiago 74'), Mateiu, Fedele (Markovic 81'), Bancu - Cicaldau, Baicu, Mitrita (c) (Burlacu 51')
Unused subs: Popescu, Gardos, Serban, Borta
Coach: Devis Mangia
- Sabitzer scored his first goal in European competition at the 11th attempt.
- Werner is Leipzig’s all-time top scorer in the Europa League with four goals in five games.
- Teenager Cunha has two goals and an assist in just three competitive outings for RB.
- This was just the second meeting between these teams, with Leipzig winning the first 3-1.
- Craiova have previously faced Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the 1981/82 European Cup, which the Bavarians won 3-1 on aggregate.
- Leipzig advanced to the Europa League quarter-finals last season, where they lost to Olympique Marseille 5-3 on aggregate.