It was a Thursday night, which can only mean one thing; Europa League!! This time in the Quarterfinal stage of the tournament, Wanderers Faced off against Avant Life for the 3rd time this season. Wanderers were the heavy favorites for the game, and coach Farhang aimed to manage his squad as much as possible, in order to have a fresh team ready for the Semi-final game in less than 2 days. As a result, rotation and managing player's minutes was almost as important as the result.
The game started with a bang, as Wanderers were stunned to go behind by a goal in the opening 3 minutes. A cross into the box and a free header from the Avant Striker meant that Wanderers had to start the game behind the 8 ball.
Despite the pressure in the early minutes, Wanderers took ahold of the game rather quickly. After creating numerous chances, David Palffy managed to score a wonderful strike from the edge of the box into the far corner in the 27th minute. Nearly 10 minutes later, David found himself in a similar position as the referee played an advantage after Sina Oloomi was brought to the ground. David placed the ball into the same far corner, and gave the lead to Wanderers for the first time in the game.
Near the end of the first half, a clash between the Avant striker and Wanderers' goalie, Danyal Yasini, lead to a serious injury for the keeper. Although there was potentially a degree of malice involved in the clash, the referee waved it off as an innocent coming together. David Palffy, who has scored 2 goals by that point in the game, picked up the gloves and took Danyal's place for the rest of the game. Although Danyal was not able to continue, it is yet to be seen how serious the damage was, and we hope a speedy recovery for the number one goalkeeper.
In the second half, Lucca Galvani took David's place as striker, and proved to be a top replacement right away. In the 51st minute, a cross by Reza into the box deflected off of a defender and fell to Lucca, who turned and finished the chance with an emphatic half-volley. Only minutes later, a long through ball by Sina found Lucca through on goal, who took a touch in the air, and proceeded to immediately lift the ball above the keeper's hands into the right side-netting.
Only minutes later, Wanderers were robbed of a clear penalty, as an Avant player rose into the air and intercepted a cross with his hand up above his head, similar to how a volleyball player spikes the ball. Despite the continuous shouts for the penalty from Wanderers' players and bench, the referee and the assistant refs for some unknown reason waved off the claims.
Wanderers kept retaining the majority of posession, as well as creating most of the chances for the rest of the game. Later in the 84th minute, Amir found himself inside the box with a deflected ball and managed to put away the chance in the bottom left corner.
The game finished 5-1 to Wanderers, which means that they are through to the semi-finals. The game will be played only 37 hours after the end of this match against an as of yet unknow opponent. Best of luck with your recovery, and as always, upwards and onwards Wanderers!