Champions League – Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Lazio (agg 3-1): Bellarabi seals victory to send Germans through

Goals from Hakan Calhanoglu, Admir Mehmedi and Karim Bellarabi helped Bayer Leverkusen overturn a first-leg deficit to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League at Lazio’s expense.

Calhanoglu opened the scoring after 40 minutes as Lazio failed to clear their lines, before Mehmedi grabbed the crucial goal shortly after play resumed in the second half.

Bellarabi then wrapped up the victory after Lazio defender Mauricio had been shown a second yellow card.

Rodger Schmidt’s charges will now be included in Thursday’s group stage draw, with Lazio dropping down into the Europa League.

Leverkusen made one change to the XI that took to the field in the first leg, forward Mehmedi replacing Son Heung-min, who looks to be on the verge of a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

Lazio made three alterations of their own, Stefan Radu and Keita Balde Diao, the goalscoring hero in Rome last week, coming in for injured duo Lucas Biglia and Miroslav Klose.

The visitors had an excellent chance to double their aggregate lead early on, Keita failing to get a shot away after defender Jonathan Tah struggled to deal with Ogenyi Onazi’s flick-on, before Felipe Anderson’s strike from just outside the box was blocked by the Leverkusen centre back.

Schmidt’s side began to settle soon after, though, Bellarabi dragging an effort wide of the post before Calhanoglu had a shot blocked from 30 yards out.

Calhanoglu again went close with a fierce drive that Lazio keeper Etrit Berisha was forced to palm clear, with Stefan Kiessling hitting the bar with a looping header from the edge of the box just moments later.

Lazio, however, began to come back into the game soon after and were somewhat unfortunate to have a penalty appeal waved away after Keita was pushed by Tah inside the area.

The Italians seemed to have done enough to go in at half-time with their first-leg advantage in tact, but Leverkusen struck just five minutes before the interval, Onazi’s attempted clearance richocheting off Radu and falling to Calhanoglu, who swept the ball home to level the tie.

Things got even worse for Lazio after the break, Mehmedi rolling Mauricio and finishing cooly past Berisha in the visitors’ goal.

Leverkusen almost put the tie out of their opponents’ reach in the 51st minute, Berisha doing well to deny Calhanoglu his second goal and the Germans’ third.

Lazio threatened by carving out a couple of decent opportunities, but Mauricio’s dismissal for a foul on Kiessling made things extremely difficult for them.

Pioli introduced Ricardo Kishna and Ravel Morrison as his team chased the away goal that would have put them through, but Bellerabi sealed the victory after Julian Brandt ran through on goal and squared the ball to him in a position from which he could not miss.