Matthew Marshall, BayArena – Bayer Leverkusen took a big step towards the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds after a 4-0 win against Real Betis. It was a comfortably victory at the BayArena with Moussa Diaby and Florian Wirtz the stars of the show.
Diaby scored the opening two goals and provided assists for Wirtz and Nadiem Amiri. The win takes the Werkself three points clear at the top of Group G with two matches remaining.
The match concluded with an ugly brawl instigated by Nabil Fekir and Kerem Demirbay which resulted in both players being sent off.
Class shines through
Bayer Leverkusen started well with Paulinho, Florian Wirtz, Moussa Diaby and Kerem Demirbay all getting into goal scoring positions.
Amine Adli had the best chance in the 20th minute, his shot beating Rui Silva before being cleared off the line by Marc Bartra.
Jeremie Frimpong scored from an offside position before Real Betis went as close as they would come to breaking the deadlock. Nabil Fekir broke clear and fired a fierce shot that Lukás Hrádecky did well to divert over the bar.
Diaby miscued an effort after being teed up by Wirtz, but the two players would combine again in the 42nd minute and put Leverkusen. Wirtz found some space before picking out Diaby who fired a volley past Silva.
Diaby and Wirtz continue to shine
Seven minutes after the break Bayern Leverkusen extended their lead. Wirtz skipped inside with his shot blocked, the ball falling fortuitously for Diaby who found the top corner via a deflection.
Fekir was trying hard to spark his side into action, firing a free kick against the bar, but Real Betis were failing to mount any meaningful attacks or seriously test Hrádecky.
Wirtz and Diaby simply couldn’t be stopped. The Frenchman’s shot was blocked before Wirtz fired wide, Hrádecky on hand at the other end to tip Bartra’s header over the bar.
Two late goals sealed the deal.
Diaby dinked the ball over the visitors’ defence with Wirtz racing through and beating Rui Silva. There was time for a fourth, Exequiel Palacios releasing Diaby who presented Nadiem Amiri with a gift from close range.
There was an ugly brawl in added time, Nabil Fekir and Kerem Demirbay getting into a scuffle which saw both players sent off.
Seoane’s side back on track
Gerardo Seoane will welcome the victory after his side failed to win in five matches, sparked by a 5-1 defeat against Bayern Munich and including a 2-1 defeat to Karlsruhe in the DFB-Pokal.
With Patrik Schick out injured and Lucas Alario carrying a knock, Moussa Diaby and Florian Wirtz needed to step up in attack and they did it in style.
Wirtz continues to be the driving force, a remarkable achievement for a young man who turns 19 in May. The pressure on his shoulders is huge on and off the pitch, but he is taking it in his stride and improving with each appearance.