Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg took a huge step towards the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League with a 2-0 victory over Sporting Clube de Portugal in their Round of 32 first-leg tie at the Volkswagen Arena.

Both teams had chances to break the deadlock in the first half, but Bas Dost eventually made the breakthrough one minute into the second half with a crisp finish from Naldo’s pass. The in-form striker completed the scoring 17 minutes later to give Dieter Hecking’s side a healthy lead to take to Portugal for next week’s return leg.

Chances at both ends


Brimming with confidence on the back of some tremendous performances in the Bundesliga in recent weeks, Wolfsburg began brightly against Sporting and created the first real chance of the match when Kevin De Bruyne’s defence-splitting ball released Andre Schürrle, but the Germany international’s effort was parried by Rui Patricio in the visitors' goal.

Paulo Oliveira went close to turning a low Sebastian Jung cross into his own net after 19 minutes, before Patricio pulled off another fine stop to deny Dost, who scored four goals in the Wolves’ sensational 5-4 win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen last weekend. Peruvian forward Andre Carrillo then went within inches of putting Sporting ahead against the run of play, but his shot trickled just wide of the target.

Dost at the double


The home fans did not have to wait long for a breakthrough at the beginning of the second half, however. After Naldo had done well to win possession near the halfway line, the Brazilian centre-back slid a pin-point pass through to Dost, who calmly prodded the ball past the advancing Patricio to give the hosts the lead 47 seconds after the restart.

Dost doubled his personal tally for the evening in the 63rd minute when he slid home another sumptuous ball from De Bruyne at the back post, and the Dutchman almost completed his second hat-trick in as many games with a fierce shot that Patricio did well to palm to safety. Vierinha and Schürrle both forced saves from the 27-year-old custodian in the closing stages, but a 2-0 first-leg victory gives Hecking’s charges a solid platform ahead of the return fixture at the Estadio Jose Alvalade next Thursday.

Line-ups:

Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Jung, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Träsch - Vieirinha (Schäfer, 89'), De Bruyne, Hunt (Arnold, 41'), Schürrle (Caligiuri, 80') - Dost

Sporting: Rui Patricio - Cedric, Tobias Figueiredo, Paulo Oliveira, Jefferson - Oriol Rosell (Andre Martins, 80'), Adrien Silva - Carrillo (Carlos Mane, 70'), Joao Mario, Nani - Montero (Junya Tanaka, 80')

Goals: Dost (46', 63')