Başakşehir made history in a dramatic fashion Thursday night after defeating Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 at Borussia-Park with a last-minute goal, advancing to the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 32 for the first time and knocking the German side from first to third in Group J and then out of the competition.
Marcus Thuram had given the Germans a 33rd-minute lead only for İrfan Can Kahveci to reply before half time and equalize the score. The upset of the night, however, came in the last minutes of the game as Başakşehir’s Enzo Crivelli scored at the 91st-minute mark.
Sitting at the top of the group prior to the match with eight points, Mönchengladbach was knocked out of the competition as Başakşehir snatched the lead with 10 points and AS Roma claimed the second spot with 9 points after a 2-2 draw with Wolfsberg.
AS Roma’s Diego Perotti tucked home from the penalty spot to break the deadlock, but Alessandro Florenzi’s own goal leveled the score. Edin Dzeko restored AS Roma’s lead but Shon Weissman equalized with a diving header.
“Just as I said before, our only option was to win. We could not start the game as we had hoped, especially after conceding the first goal, but we managed to equalize before the first half was over. I would like to think we were the better side during the second half,” Buruk said. He added that the Başakşehir’s advancement also served Turkey in UEFA’s country coefficients, which determined how many teams from a nation can attend UEFA’s Europea League and Champions League competitions.
For his part, Mönchengladbach manager Marco Rose said he believed his players dominated the game and avoided commenting on Başakşehir’s play. “We missed our chances and we conceded a goal at the last minute, but that’s football. We wanted to continue in the Europa League, but we will manage to pick ourselves up. I don’t want to comment on Başakşehir. They won,” Rose said.
The star of the night, Crivelli, said the morale boost the team received after the match was sure to carry on. “We have three more games (before the Turkish Süper Lig break), that we need to keep our focus on. It was an important victory that boosted the morale and confidence of the team. We will carry this on to our matches in Süper Lig,” Crivelli said.
While Başakşehir was riding high on victory, the other Turkish teams competing in the tournament were sent packing with defeats. Istanbul powerhouse Beşiktaş was hammered at the Molineux Stadium by Wolverhampton with a 4-0 thrashing. After the game, the Black Eagles finished the group at the bottom with one win and five defeats.