RECAP: EUROPA LEAGUE ACTION
Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu was on the mark for Young Boys as he bagged two goals while Tim Weah scored a goal for Lille as the knockout stage got underway in the Europa League.
Young Boys 4-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu's 89th-minute game-winner helped Young Boys to the win over Bayer Leverkusen at the Wankdorf Stadium to give a slim advantage in the second leg in a week's time.
The 24-year-old French-American went the distance for the reigning Swiss Super League champions as he's gone on to score 10 goals in the last 10 games after Thursday night's encounter.
It didn't take long for the host to open the scoring as Christian Fassnacht found the back of the net with a volley from a Michel Aebischer corner kick three minutes into the contest.
Siebatcheu may have had a difficult time getting minutes with Rennes in France, but he is making the most of his opportunities with Young Boys as he doubled their lead in the 19th minute. It would be from another set-piece as Aebischer's inswinger found the towering forward unmarked in the middle of the area to head the ball home.
Meschack Elia increased their lead further before the halftime whistle when Leverkusen's backline failed to deal with a long ball, allowing the Congolese forward to pounce and easily slot the ball past goalkeeper Niklas Lomb.
It should have been smooth sailing for Young Boys, but they allowed the visitors to get back into the game in the second half.
Patrik Schick scored just minutes into the restart with a header. He added a second three minutes later when he was on the spot to head in a parried shot from Young Boys' goalkeeper David von Ballmoos.
Moussa Diaby leveled the score in the 68th minute when he was able to get his foot onto a long ball from the back to put it past von Ballmoos.
The game appeared to be headed for a tie, but the host, Siebatcheu in particular, would have the last word as he buried the game-winner. Gianluca Gaudino took a crack at goal from distance, but Lomb parried it onto the post. However, Siebatcheu would continue his run into the area and would be in the right spot to blast the ball into the roof of the goal.
It was a good win for the Swiss side, but they will rue that they allowed the Germans back into the game when they should have finished them off.
Next week's second leg at the BayArena will see if they can hold them off.
Lille 1-2 Ajax
Timothy Weah's second-half strike gave Lille the lead, but they were let down as they allowed two late goals to them fall to Ajax at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Weah made his second start for the Ligue 1 leaders and played the entire 90 minutes as they will have their work cut out for them in the second leg when they head to the Netherlands next week.
The action would pick up in the second half after a fruitless first interval when the host found themselves taking the lead in the 72nd minute. A poor backpass from Nicolas Tagliafico gave Weah ample opportunity to score and he did not fail as his one-timed shot beat Maarten Stekelenburg.
Lille should have been playing for the win, but controversy would arise in the 84th minute when the referee pointed to the spot for an Ajax penalty. Renato Sanches was accused of committing a foul in the area, but the video assistant referee showed that Tagliafico actually slipped for the Portuguese midfielder made contact. However, the referee's decision stood and Dusan Tadic went on to level the score with the spot-kick.
The host's frustrations got the best of them as they allowed Ajax to score the game-winner in the 89th minute as Brian Brobbey's deflected shot found the back of the net.
With Ajax in control, Lille will have to be on top of their next Thursday when they head to the Amsterdam Arena.
In other Europa League action, Chris Richards and Hoffenheim surrendered a 3-1 lead to finish in a 3-3 tie with Molde.
Brenden Aaronson played 61 minutes as Red Bull Salzburg put themselves in a following a 2-0 loss to Villarreal.
Ethan Horvath watched on from the bench as Club Brugge's game with Dynamo Kyiv ended in a 1-1 tie.