Freiburg into Europa League last 16 after extra-time win over Lens

Freiburg's Roland Sallai (R) celebrates after scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Freiburg's Roland Sallai (R) celebrates after scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
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Freiburg reached the last 16 of the Europa League after coming back from a 2-0 deficit to claim a 3-2 win against Lens in extra-time in the second leg of the Europa League knock-out round play-off on Wednesday.

Michael Gregoritsch scored the winner in the 99th minute, but only after Roland Sallai completed a dramatic brace to settle the 2-2 draw in the final minutes of regular time.

"Unbelievable, how often do you get to experience something like this? This is a one for the ages," Gregoritsch told broadcasters RTL.

David Pereira da Costa put Lens ahead in the 28th before Elye Wahi increased their lead shortly before the break. The Germans pulled one back in the 67th thanks to Sallai, who then scored a very late equalizer in stoppage time.

This is the second time Freiburg reach the last 16 of the Europa League. They made their debut last season, but were eliminated by Juventus.

Elsewhere, Milan had a 3-0 advantage from the first leg and made it to the last 16 despite a 3-2 defeat at Rennes. Benfica, meanwhile, were held to a goalless draw at Toulouse but were through thanks to their 2-1 home win last week.

Lens found the breakthrough after the Freiburg defence failed to clear a free-kick and Pereira da Costa found a gap to fire the ball into the net.

Freiburg got close to the equalizer in the 33rd, after Sallai took a free-kick and Manuel Gulde aimed for the goal, but goalkeeper Brice Samba reacted fast to deflect the ball onto the post.

Kiliann Sildillia tried to finish off a corner and narrowly missed the target in the 40th, before it was Lens turn to attack - and the hosts increased their lead shortly before the break as Wahi chipped the ball over keeper Noah Atubolu.

But the Germans were back in the game in the second half and thanks to Sallai. He pulled one back for Freiburg with a fierce shot in the 68th and scored a dramatic equalizer in stoppage-time.

Gregoritsch, who came from the bench early in the second half, didn't wait too long and found the net in the first minutes of extra-time. While Freiburg didn't create any further chances, Lens seemed too tired to attempt some last-minute pressure.

"The whole stadium was going crazy. They pushed us forward, we played a great second half," Freiburg defender Matthias Ginter said.

In the other game, Benjamin Bourigeaud broke the deadlock for Rennes in the 11th minute, but Luka Jovic got the equalizer in the 22nd.

Bourigeaud slotted Rennes into the lead again from the spot in the 54th, but Rafael Leão levelled things up again just four minutes later.

Bourigeaud completed his hat-trick, again from the spot in the 68th, but that was not enough to turn around the aggregate score.

"It was a tough match, they gave it all they had. We need to be more clinical when it comes to taking our chances," Milan defender Simon Kjær said.

The Europa League last 16 draw is on Friday.

Freiburg's Roland Sallai (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Freiburg's Roland Sallai (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Freiburg's Roland Sallai celebrates his side's second goal if the game during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Freiburg's Roland Sallai celebrates his side's second goal if the game during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Lens' Florian Sotoca (Center L) and Freiburg's Maximilian Eggestein battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Lens' Florian Sotoca (Center L) and Freiburg's Maximilian Eggestein battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Freiburg's Noah Weisshaupt (R) and Lens' Ruben Aguilar battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa
Freiburg's Noah Weisshaupt (R) and Lens' Ruben Aguilar battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League soccer match between SC Freiburg and RC Lens at Europa-Park Stadium. Harry Langer/dpa