Hannover 96 conceded an injury-time equaliser but still finished top of Group L after a 2-2 draw away at Levante UD in the UEFA Europa League.

A superb opening half saw the 96ers establish a two-goal lead through Lars Stindl and Didier Ya Konan, but headed efforts from Michel and Vicente Iborra endured the points were shared on Matchday 6.

Reds on top

Mirko Slomka’s men had already sewn up qualification for the second phase after the draw against FC Twente Entschede a fortnight ago, but they acquitted themselves well against a side currently 8th in the Spanish Primera Division. After Ron-Robert Zieler had held an early sighter from Michel, the away side were in front with their first attack, as Stindl tapped in after Didier Ya Konan’s touch.

Minutes later, their lead was doubled. Stindl had time to look up and pick out the run of Ya Konan, who was composure personified to dink a beautiful chip over the onrushing Keylor Navas. Diouf was then inches away from making it three, seeing his first header denied by Navas and his second cannon back off the crossbar.

Levante strike back

The Spanish outfit were also already through to the last 32, but they emerged for the second half determined not to finish the group on a losing note, and they were quickly back in the game. A free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with and Angel punished the away side with a close-range finish.

The home side were keeping the ball well and Zieler made a smart stop to deny Michel an equaliser, but Hannover still found it relatively easy to control the game. Captain Steven Cherundolo was introduced to help shore up the midfield, as but some late pressure did for the Reds, as Iborra headed in an injury-time equaliser. Despite the late goal, this was a solid display from Slomka’s men, and one that will give them a confidence boost ahead of Sunday’s league clash with Bayer Leverkusen.


Levante:Navas - Pedro Lopez, David Navarro, Hector Rodas, Karampelas - Iborra, Diop (Pallardo, 74’) - El Zhar (Barkero, 59‘), Michel, Ruben Garcia (Juanlu, 59‘) - Angel

Hannover: Zieler – Sakai – Haggui, Schulz, Rausch – Stindl (Nikci, 38‘), Pinto, Schmiedebach, Huszti (Cherundolo, 71’) – Diouf, Ya Konan (Abdellaoue, 89’)

Goals: 0-1 Stindl, 18’, 2-0 Ya Konan, 26’, 1-2 Michel 48‘, 22 Iborra 90+3‘