Hoffenheim Lose, Berlin Tie In UEFA Europa League
European debutants Hoffenheim were unable to defend Sandro Wagner’s opener as goals from Joao Teixeira and Dyego Sousa allowed Braga to snatch a 2-1 comeback victory on the road.
The “TSG” dominated the first half and worked out a number of chances, still Kerem Demirbay and Andrej Kramaric failed to break the deadlock although they rattled the woodwork.
As the match progressed, Hoffenheim’s dominance paid off as Sandro Wagner headed home Pavel Kaderabek’s cross to mark the opener with 24 minutes into the clash.
The hosts remained in control of the proceedings but they lacked in accuracy to extend their advantage.
Thus, Braga punished Hoffenheim’s wastefulness as Joao Teixeira nodded home Ricardo Esgaio’s pinpoint cross to level the scores against the run of the game before the break.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men suffered another setback after the restart as Esgaio’s square pass found Dyego Sousa, who tapped home the 2-1 lead out of the blue with five minutes into the second half.
Hoffenheim pressed frenetically for the equalizer whereas Braga kept all their men behind the ball. The hosts created one chance after the other but all their efforts remained fruitless, as they were unable to overcome goalkeeper Matheus Magalhaeas.
With the result, SC Braga sit atop the standings in Group C followed by Istanbul Basaksehir, PFC Ludogorets and TSG Hoffenheim.
Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao played out a stalemate after goalless ninety minutes.
Both sides staged an uninspired performance at Olympia stadium, yet Berlin was more active and worked out a couple of promising opportunities throughout the match.
“We played a good second half but we always miss the last pass which allows us shot on target. We have to be satisfied with the draw,” Berlin’s head coach Pal Dardai said.
With the draw, Berlin and Bilbao sit on the second place of the standings, behind Ostersunds Fk and followed by Zorya Luhansk.