Written By: Abidoye Babatunde
RB Leipzig kicked the UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage off with a hard-fought 3-1 victory away to Young Boys in Bern. A fifth win in six games continues Die Roten Bullen’s impressive start to the 2023/24 season.
In the first-ever meeting between the two sides, visitors RB Leipzig got off to a dream start taking the lead inside three minutes. David Raum’s corner kick was met at the front post by Mohamed Simakan and the defender’s header toward goal looked like it was going to be comfortably saved by Anthony Racioppi but the goalkeeper made a hash of it, as the ball went in off the palms of his gloves. The German side had the wind in their sails and almost doubled their lead through the man in form, Xavi Simons, but the Dutchman could only steer his shot inches wide of the post.
The Swiss hosts began to take control of the game as the half wore on and equalised in brilliant fashion around the half-hour mark. Ulisses Garcia’s ball infield was deftly touched onto Meschak Elia and the Congolese forward took one touch, turned towards goal, and let fly from the edge of the box, sending the home fans wild. With parity restored, it was a case of hanging on and getting to half time without conceding again for Leipzig as YB finished the half strongly.
RB Leipzig almost replicated the first half by coming close to scoring within three minutes of the second period as Loïs Openda was played through by Emil Forsberg but the striker was quickly closed down and smothered by Racioppi. The YB goalkeeper was in the thick of the action as minutes later he brought Simons down in the box but after a lengthy VAR review, and the referee consulting the pitchside monitor, no penalty was given despite replays showing clear contact. Marco Rose and his players were left both incensed and dumbfounded by the referee’s decision.
Feeling they had been wronged, Leipzig did not allow the decision to affect them as Benjamin Šeško headed his side into the lead but again the VAR review went against the German side and it was ruled out for offside. Again, Die Roten Bullen did not let their heads drop as Xaver Schlager gave his side a lead that stood, netting with a strike from distance. With a one-goal lead, RB Leipzig went into game-management mode and as the Swiss side pushed for an equaliser, the visitors netted a third in stoppage time on the counterattack, with Šeško sealing the victory, getting their UCL campaign off with a win.
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