Europe: Europa League
London Stadiumfull time1-2
Three years after failing at Stamford Bridge in the semi-finals of the 2018/19 Europa League, Eintracht Frankfurt have emerged victorious from London in the first UEL semi-final.
Germany’s commercial capital Eagles can now add West Ham United to an impressive list of away winners in the 2021/22 UEL knockout rounds.
Oliver Glasner’s Bundesliga representatives can count themselves lucky, however, because their English hosts hit the woodwork three times.
Real Betis. Barcelona FC. Now West Ham United. Eintracht Frankfurt has completed the third away win in a row in the 2021/22 Europa League. In a very exciting game on Thursday evening in London’s Olympic Stadium, the German guests beat their hosts 2-1 in a duel with four hits against the post.
SGE coach Oliver Glasner was without defender Evan N’dicka and midfielder Kristijan Jakic, both suspended for the next phase of the competition after bookings at the Camp Nou. Fortunately, midfielder Djibril Sow was fit in time to take Jakic’s place alongside captain Sebastian Rode. Almamy Touré stepped in for N’dicka to complete Glasner’s usual 3-6-1/3-4-3.
In front of a packed house in London’s Olympic Stadium, the German guests caused an early shock before the pre-game bubbles typical of West Ham had completely dissipated. Striker Rafael Santos Borré was given too much space in the left corner of the box. The Colombian striker turned clean and lashed out an inviting cross from the turn. Dortmund loan Ansgar Knauff headed home early to make it 1-0.
The English hosts had to scramble off the canvas before a minute was up. Glasner’s men did a remarkably good job of keeping the Hammers out of the box for the next ten minutes. David Moises’ Hammers prevailed on the 14th. Jarrod Bowen fired with a low shot that Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp could only fend off with the sole of his foot. The ball eventually bounced off the post.
West Ham felt a little safer and took more risks. Eintracht, in turn, used the space and ran some promising counterattacks. The equalizer came in the 21st after a set piece. Kurt Zouma headed a free kick to the far post. Michail Antonio and Declan Rice both lurked, the former pushing the ball over the line.
Things calmed down after the second goal, with both sides largely neutralizing each other. The Germans got another chance in the 39th with a lightning-fast counterattack. Knauff eventually got the ball and with a quick shot from close range just missed a brace. However, it was not to be and both sides went into the tunnel stuck.
Thomas Soucek fired the first warning shot after the restart. The Czech international’s ambitious shot in the 49th minute went wide of the target. Five minutes later, the Germans regained the lead. Sow and Jesper Lindstrøm combined well on the left. Sow fired in such a way that Hammers’ keeper Alphonse Areola could only hammer down Daichi Kamada’s barrel. The Japanese international slipped into the empty goal to make it 2-1.
A few interruptions hampered the flow of the game over the next 20 minutes. The next big chance to equalize came in the 68th minute. Recent substitute Said Benrahma had beaten Trapp after a Rice free-kick rebounded off the SGE wall at him. Unfortunately, the hosts had to complain about another post hit. The Algerian international powerfully hit the corner of the goal frame.
Particularly strong defensive work by Rode, Sow and defensive captain Martin Hinteregger defused wave after wave of West Ham attacks over the next ten minutes. The Germans then hit the post in the 79th minute when Kamada saved a Borré-driven counterattack in a fine effort. Tuta, Touré, Sow and Hinteregger had to deal with late pressure from West Ham.
Match official Serdar Gözübüyük thought some duels were unfair. Both Hinteregger and Sow were cautioned. Two huge chances for the Londoners in the final minutes ensured Moises’ men equalised. Touré dealt well with a Jarrod Bowen header in the 89th round. Bowen almost reached the sensational 90+2 on a first time overhead bike.
Luckily for Frankfurt, the ball slammed off the crossbar and then off Trapp’s unguarded rear end before being headed wide.
|41||D Rice (c)|
|9||M Antonio ⚽|
|22||S Benrahma ↩66|
|36||A Knuff ⚽|
|17||S Rode (c)|
|29||J. Lindstrom ↪62|
|15||D. Kamada ⚽|
|19||R Borre ↪90|
|21||R pain ↩90|
|24||D. da Costa|