RB Leipzig continued their march towards Europa League qualification with a 3-1 win in leg one of the Europa League third round over Universitatea Craiova. Goals from Ibrahima Konaté, Matheus Cunha and Yussuf Poulsen were the goal-scorers with Ivan Martic providing a bit of light for Craiova heading into leg 2.
RB Leipzig Take 3-1 Lead in Europa Qualifier
“I’m very happy with much of the game,” said manager Ralf Rangnick. “The introduction of Marcel Sabitzer, Emil Forsberg and Yussuf Poulsen gave us more precision in attack and a fresh impetus. We obviously conceded an annoying goal, but I still think that if we play like that again next week, we will win the return leg too. It’s in our own hands.”
Rangnick’s team was almost identical to the one that took down BK Häcken in the previous round and they nearly opened the scoring in the first ten minutes. Both Bruma and Jean-Kevin Augustin had opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net. The first goal came in the 25th minute when Konaté headed a corner kick into the goal off the crossbar.
The second half saw the line-up transform into what we will more than likely see during the Bundesliga season with Emil Forsberg, Marcel Sabitzer and Yussuf Poulsen stepping on as substitutes. Their impact is what led to the game’s second goal in the 77th minute when Poulsen’s pass across goal was buried by Cunha, effectively putting the game away for the home side. Poulsen added a goal himself in the 87th minute to cushion the lead heading into Romania next week.
Europa League qualification will remain at the top of Leipzig’s priority list as the team travels to Romania next week to finish this round of qualification. Should they advance, Leipzig will enter the Playoff Round in late August.
RB Leipzig: Mvogo; Klostermann, Orban, Konaté, Saracchi, Demme, Ilsanker, Kampl, Cunha, Augustin, Bruma
25′ (RB Leipzig) Ibrahima Konaté
77′ (RB Leipzig) Matheus Cunha
87′ (RB Leipzig) Yussuf Poulsen