Europe: Europa League
Deutsche Bank Park (Frankfurt am Main)Full time1-0
By Peter Vice
The party shall continue until the wee hours in Germany’s Rhein-Main metropolis tonight.
Eintracht Frankfurt have reached their first European Cup Final since 1980 after defeating West Ham 3-1 on aggregate in the Europa League semi-finals.
The Eagles of Germany’s commercial capital will now seek to be the first German team to take the Europa League since Schalke’s “Euro-fighter” side took the old UEFA Cup back in 1997.
The party continues for Eintracht Frankfurt after a Rafael Santos Borré goal proved sufficient for a 3-1 aggregate defeat of West Ham in the 2021/22 Europa League semi-finals. Oliver Glasner’s Adler lost defensive captain Martin Hinteregger to injury early, but West Ham lost their starting left-back (and later their coach) to straight-reds in a contest that was put out of reach relatively early.
Glasner rotated in all of his preferred actors after giving many of them the night off in Monday’s league encounter at Leverkusen. Borré, Daichi Kamada, Ansgar Knauff, Djibril Sow, Martin Hinteregger and captain Sebastian Rode all returned in place of Gonçalo Paciencia, Ragnar Ache, Timothy Chandler, Kristijan Jakic, Ajdin Hrustic, and Makoto Hasebe. Unfortunately, Danish sensation Jesper Lindstrøm was not able to get fit in time for the encounter. Jens Petter Hauge thus started his second consecutive match for die Adler.
Matters began inauspiciously enough for the German hosts. Hinteregger came down awkwardly following a sprinting duel with West Ham striker Michael Antonio in the 4th. The crucial fulcrum actor of the squad’s back-three immediately grabbed his thigh and signaled that he could not continue. Almamy Touré replaced the Austrian in the 7th minute. Lucas Silva “Tuta” Melo slid into Hinteregger’s central position, flanked by Touré and Evan N’dicka.
The injury added to the nervy nature of the game. Neither side seemed prepared to take too many risks through the 15th. The EPL guests suddenly found themselves reduced to ten men shortly after the quarter-of-an-hour mark. Aaron Cresswell pulled down Hauge just outside the area in the 16th. After being compelled to take another Spanish match official Jesus Gil Manzano ruled that the foul impeded a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Cresswell’s yellow was transformed into a red in the 19th, with West Ham facing at least seventy minutes shorthanded. Kostic narrowly missed the right post on the eventual free-kick in the 20th. David Moyes’ men were nearly able to create some danger from their own set-piece two minutes later, but Eintracht would capitalize on their man-advantage inside of ten minutes of the sending off.
A nice combo up the SGE right put Knauff through. The young Dortmund loanee demonstrated remarkable cool holding the ball up and spotting Borré breaking away from his marker. The German U21 international serviced the Colombian striker at precisely the right moment and the finish was clean. The Hammers regrettably found themselves down two goals on aggregate and a numerical disadvantage on the pitch.
Riding the tailwind of a raucous crowd of 50,000 who knew their moment had come, the German Eagles remained dominant throughout much of the first half’s duration. There was nevertheless a scary moment one minute from time. N’dicka had to clear a Kurt Zouma close range push in off the line after Tuta inadvertently directed a Jarred Bowen free-kick right to the West Ham defender at the far post.
The German hosts were certainly more passive in the second 45, for the most part focusing on contained WHU striker Antonio. The task proved easy enough, particular as Moyes had pulled his ten Manuel Lanzini for defender Ben Johnson in a tactical reshuffle shortly after the red card. Glasner’s XI were disciplined enough not to accord their English guests so much as an inch to operate in and there were no further chances of note.
In point of fact, Moyes himself was sent off on a straight red after kicking a match ball in frustration in the 78th. Some sideline players from both sides were cautioned as well by Manzona during the general scuffle that followed. A late push from West Ham did see Thomas Soucek narrowly miss with a headed finish in the 90th. Even had it gone in, it wouldn’t have been enough to take the match to extra time.
|13||M. Hinteregger ↪8|
|17||S. Rode (C) ↪76|
|23||J. Hauge ↪82|
|19||R. Borré ⚽ ↪82|
|39||G. Paciência ↩82|
|18||A. Touré ↩8|
|24||D. da Costa|
|6||K. Jakić ↩76|
|7||A. Hrustic ↩82|
|5||V. Coufal ↪87|
|41||D. Rice (C)|
|10||M. Lanzini ↪22|
|8||Pablo Fornals ↪74|
|7||A. Yarmolenko ↩87|
|22||S. Benrahma ↩74|
|31||B. Johnson ↩22|