Victor Boniface fires Leverkusen to narrow win over Qarabag

Victor Boniface fires Leverkusen to narrow win over Qarabag
Credit: Icon Sport

Super Eagles striker Victor Boniface emerged as the match-winner for Bayer Leverkusen in Thursday's 1-0 win over Qarabag.

Aiming to maintain his side's 100% record in the Europa League, Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso named Boniface in the starting XI on a night when several other first-team stars were benched.

Despite not being at full strength, Leverkusen started the game on the front foot and had the first attempt on goal after just eight minutes through Florian Wirtz.

For all of their early dominance, Leverkusen failed to provide any significant threat to the Qarabag goal, thanks in no small part to Victor Boniface's pedestrian display in the opening half.

Boniface grew into the game as it progressed and unleashed a powerful strike from outside the box early in the second half but his effort flew well off-target.

The striker was at it again moments later when he took another pop at goal, only for his attempt to be blocked for a corner.

As the contest entered into its final knockings, Leverkusen intensified their search for the opener which nearly came 10 minutes from time through Boniface but for an excellent save from Andrey Lunev.

The game remained level heading into second-half stoppage time. Leverkusen were on course to drop points for the first time in Europe this season before Maksim Medvedev handled the ball in his penalty area and conceded a penalty following the intervention of VAR.

Up stepped Victor Boniface to dispatch the resulting penalty with ease and secure a last-gasp triumph.

Boniface's winner means that Leverkusen are now through to the last 16 of the Europa League and the Bundesliga leaders continue to impress both home and abroad.

For Boniface, his well-taken penalty resulted in an 11th goal of the campaign across all competitions and a third in the Europa League. He now sits just one goal shy of the top of the scoring charts in his quest to secure consecutive Golden Boot awards in Europe.

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

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