Europa League - UEFASoccer News


Eintracht Frankfurt extended their magnificent unbeaten run in this season’s UEFA Europa League (UEL) campaign to 11 matches, defeating West Ham United 2-1 at the London Stadium in the first leg of their UEL semi-final.

After no defeats in their last five UEL away games, the visitors made the perfect start with their quickest-ever goal in the competition. With only 49 seconds on the clock, Ansgar Knauff inconspicuously ghosted into the penalty area to power a towering header past Alphonse Areola.

Participating in their first semi-final of a UEFA competition in 46 years, Jarrod Bowen was only the outside of the right–hand post away from equalising, agonisingly witnessing his one-on-one strike turned onto the woodwork by Kevin Trapp. However, the Frankfurt shot-stopper was helpless in preventing the ‘Hammers’ from getting back on level terms just seven minutes later, when Michail Antonio got ahead of Declan Rice to strike from close-range. Not dismayed by being pulled back, Knauff was left with his head in his hands five minutes before the interval, when the on-loan winger could only fire high into the stands after being released by Rafael Santos Borré.

Unable to qualify for the UEFA Champions League domestically, the visitors were elevated back into the ascendency nine minutes into the second half, when Daichi Kamada tapped into an empty net after Areola had failed to hold Djibril Sow’s strike. David Moyes’ men needed a response, and Saïd Benrahma nearly provided one after unleashing a spine-chilling effort inches past the post with Trapp left rooted to the spot.

Eintracht Frankfurt valiantly marshalled the hosts’ attacking threat in the final 15 minutes, and continued to carry a threat, with Kamada denied a second by the woodwork. Deep into stoppage time, Bowen was denied a spectacular equaliser, when his bicycle kick thundered back off the bar. A stroke of fortune ensured that the ‘Eagles’ secured just a second victory in 10 matches across all competitions, handing Oliver Glasner’s men a slender advantage heading into the second leg at Deutsche Bank Park.

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