After finally being given clearance to make his Bayer Leverkusen debut, Lucas Alario scored one and set up another as his new club defeated Hamburg 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Sunday afternoon.
The 24-year-old joined Leverkusen at the end of the transfer window when his €24 million buy out clause was activated but despite training with the German club, River Plate had refused to send the required paperwork to complete the deal.
Only when FIFA intervened giving the all clear three days ago was Alario able to start for Leverkusen and the prolific striker made up for lost time.
First game ✅
First shot ✅
First goal ✅
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) September 24, 2017
Kevin Volland had just given Leverkusen a 20th minute lead when three minutes later Alario opened his account. Leon Bailey’s excellent left wing cross expertly volleyed past Christian Mathenia by the Argentina international.
With less than ten minutes remaining, Alario was slipped in by Julian Brandt and on this occasion Pipa showed the awareness to slide the ball across for Volland to tap in.
Given Leverkusen’s recent form, coach Heiko Herrlich was obviously relieved with the result and thrilled with his new signing.
“The goal was the cream on top. He [Alario] played very well, scored the goal and combined with others. He worked well coming back and his first goal wasn’t so easy to score.”
Once again when questions were asked of Alario and the pressure was on, the 24-year-old delivered. Sunday’s goal will surely be the first of many in the Bundesliga and could push Pipa back into Argentina contention, having missed out on Jorge Sampaoli’s recent squad.
Promoted to Colón’s first team as a youngster, Alario’s goals couldn’t keep the Santa Fe club in Argentina’s top flight but did alert River Plate to his talent and when making the step up to one of South America’s biggest sides, Pipa showed no signs of being overawed.
Alario’s goals immediately helped Los Millonarios to the Copa Libertadores and over the past two years as River added more trophies to the cabinet, the forward scored an impressive 41 goals in 82 appearances. Such form has already seen Alario make his Argentina debut and at no point has the Santafesino looked out of depth.
Now making an excellent early impression in one of Europe’s top leagues, the question is how far can Alario go?