Augsburg qualify at expense of Belgrade

FC Augsburg came from a goal down to beat Partizan Belgrade 3-1 in Serbia and qualify for the Europa League knockout stages at the expense of their opponents.

Partizan Belgrade 1 FC Augsburg 3
Aboubakar Oumarou opens scoring for hosts
Jeong-Ho Hong equalises
Paul Verhaegh puts visitors ahead
Raúl Marcelo Bobadilla scores vital third to secure qualifiaction
 
Match Summary

Things looked to be perfectly for the hosts when Aboubakar Oumarou opened the scoring after only 11 minutes, but Jeong-Ho Hong equalised in first-half stoppage time, Paul Verhaegh added a second and Raul Marcelo Bobadilla scored with a late third to dramatically steal second spot in Group L.

Belgrade – who would have qualified due to their head-to-head record had they only been beaten 2-1 – were forced to defend the final 10 minutes a man short after Andrija %u017Divkovi%u0107 was sent off for two bookable offences.

Full report

 

 

Partizan were undoubtedly favourites to qualify beforehand – knowing they just needed to secure a result better than a 3-1 defeat – and came into the encounter on the back of five consecutive victories.

The home fans must have been expecting their side to make it six on the bounce when Marko Jevtovi%u0107 dispossessed Piotr Trochowski and thread a sumptuous pass through to Oumarou, who in turn coolly slotted past Marwin Hitz in the visitors' goal.

However, Augsburg started to gain the ascendancy and should have been granted an earlier man advantage when Nikola Ninkovi%u0107 recklessly went in on Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker, who had to be substituted with an ankle injury, while the offender was lucky to be only given a yellow card.

The German's were to gain revenge and ironically it was Callsen-Bracker's replacement, Hong, who bagged the equaliser – flicking a Trochowski free-kick into the back of the net with a neat header.

Partizan were still overwhelming favourites to qualify, but started to become obviously nervous after right-back Verhaegh prodded past %u017Divko %u017Divkovi%u0107.

The hosts wasted their best chance of the second half – which would have surely guaranteed second spot behind Athletic Bilbao – but Ninkovic blazed over from only 12 yards out with the goal at his mercy.

It looked like time was running out for Augsburg, but they were given hope by Zivkovic picking up a stupid second yellow for a deliberate hand ball, and as tension mounted Bobadilla forced the ball home at the back post to spark wild celebrations for the away side, and despair for the hosts.

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