Moussa Diaby scores first European goal as Bayer Leverkusen cruise past Aribo's Rangers

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Moussa Diaby Kai Havertz Bayer Leverkusen 2019-20
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The 21-year-old of Malian descent was at his best to ensure the German side claimed a two-legged victory over the Scottish giants

Moussa Diaby found the back of the net for the first time in European competition as Bayer Leverkusen recorded a 1-0 win over Joe Aribo’s Rangers in the second leg of the round of 16, progressing to the quarter-finals 4-1 on aggregate.

The Die Werkself had claimed a 3-1 win at the Ibrox back in March thanks to goals from Chelsea-linked Kai Havertz, Charles Aranguiz and Leon Baily, Diaby providing the assist for the latter.

The Gers faced an almost impossible task of turning the game around due to Leverkusen’s away advantage and they couldn’t do anything to stop Diaby who latched onto Aranguiz’s long ball before burying his effort beyond the reach of Allan McGregor in goal in the 51st minute of play.

It was the third Europa League game in a row the 21-year-old Franco-Malian winger had a hand in goal (one goal, two assists). His first involvement was in the 3-1 second leg round of 32 win over FC Porto, assisting Havertz.

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Diaby has scored eight goals in all competitions this season, five of them in the Bundesliga where Leverkusen finished fifth, missing out on Champions League football next season by just a point. His tally is twice as many as those he netted for his previous club, Paris Saint-Germain during the 2018-19 campaign.

For Aribo, he played the entire game but had a rather quiet evening with 39 touches, 17 accurate passes at 68% and successfully attempting three out of five dribbles.

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The Nigerian midfielder also played every minute of Rangers’ opening Scottish Premiership game at Aberdeen which ended 1-0 in their favour. Another Nigerian, new recruit Leon Balogun made his debut for the club after his free transfer from Wigan Athletic and also lasted the whole 90 minutes.

Rangers’ Europa League journey began in the first qualifying round against Gibraltar outfit St. Joseph’s FC, with Aribo scoring in the 6-0 second-leg win. He then scored in the next round against Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg in a 2-0 first-leg win before netting in the first leg of the third round against FC Midtjylland of Denmark, the game ending 4-2 to the Glasgow side.

Leverkusen will go on to tackle Inter Milan in the quarter-finals next Monday. The Nerazzurri saw off Getafe 2-0 on Wednesday.

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