SOCCER

Elia scores first Champions League goal to inspire 10-man Young Boys past Boli’s Ferencvrosi


The DR Congo international capped an impressive night with a goal as the Swiss Super League giants scaled the Green Eagles’ hurdle

Meschack Elia waited until his fifth Champions League game for Young Boys before registering his first goal ever in the tournament.

Despite conceding first, the DR Congo international inspired the Swiss Super League side’s comeback win as they defeated the Green Eagles 3-2 in the first leg of the play-off round.

Buoyed by their 4-2 aggregate win over CFR Cluj in the third round, David Wagner’s men welcomed the Hungarians to Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium full of high hopes.

They began the encounter the brighter of the two teams, creating numerous chances as well as playing with great attacking intent.

Nonetheless, they were stunned in the 14th minute as Franck Boli fired past goalkeeper Guillaume Faivre. Taking advantage of a miskicked pass from Mohamed Camara, the Ivorian star disposed the Guinean defender before smashing home.

The hosts levelled matters two minutes later as Elia’s long-range effort deflected in, leaving goalkeeper Denes Dilbusz bewildered. With that, he ended his wait for a goal in the prestigious competition since making his debut against Slovan Bratislava on July 21, 2021.

Even at the equaliser, things went sour for the hosts as they were reduced to 10 men after Silvan Hefti was given the marching orders for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity in the box.

VAR replays upheld referee William Collum’s decision who also awarded a penalty to the visiting team. Myrto Uzini stepped up to take the ensuing spot-kick but he scuffed his effort onto the post, but the rebound was turned in after a scramble in the box.

Sadly, the goal was chalked off for infringement in the penalty run-up.

Not minding their numerical disadvantage, the reigning Swiss champions took the lead for the first time in the 40th minute courtesy of Vincent Sierro’s stunning half volley from outside the box.

In the 65th minute, Young Boy extended their lead through Ulisses Garcia. The Swiss left-back raced with the ball from his own half, and then unleashed a beauty past goalkeeper Denes Dibusz.

Eight minutes from full time, Boli completed his brace after he was teed up by Ryan Mmaee, albeit, his team ended on the losing side.

Both sides will meet in Budapest on August 24 with the winners on aggregate earning a place in the Champions League group stage.


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