Europa League: Frankfurt saves a point against Royal Antwerp

Uknocked into the last sixteen? Eintracht wanted to choose this variant, but had to tremble for a long time until the first defeat was prevented. Qualification for the field of the best sixteen teams in the Europa League is still possible. But after the 2: 2 (1: 1) against Royal Antwerp on Thursday evening, the lead over pursuers Olympiacos Piraeus has shrunk. The Greeks prevailed 1-0 in the parallel game against Fenerbahce Istanbul and are now two points behind Eintracht. The Frankfurt had once again delivered a last-minute spectacle in front of 30,000 spectators, because coach Oliver Glasner’s team was down 1: 2 after Ally Mbwabna Samatta’s goal in the 88th minute. But Eintracht showed morale again, and again it was a substitute with Goncalo Paciencia who made for emotional elation and the goal for the final 2: 2 (94th).

Because there was no reason to change anything in the winning formation of the previous week, Glasner placed his trust against Antwerp from the start in the same eleven players who had made a significant contribution to the 2-0 win at SC Freiburg.

As in the Breisgau in the Bundesliga, Eintracht was determined in their favorite Europa League competition and had advantages right from the start. The reward for the courageous and controlled performance: the 1-0 in the 13th minute. It was a strong action by Eintracht, because Tuta had fought for the ball in his own half and passed his right flank partner Timothy Chandler precisely. The American from Frankfurt looked up briefly, crossed – and found Daichi Kamada in the six-yard area, who had no trouble turning the flank into a well-deserved opening goal. Eight minutes later it was again the agile Chandler who prevailed on the right. Filip Kostic, however, was in the episode with too much power – the ball flew high over the goal of the Belgians. Jesper Lindström also had a good opportunity to make a decisive score for Royal. But the Dane moved with the left (28th).

Compensation out of nowhere

There was much to suggest that the second Frankfurter Tor was only a matter of minutes. But it turned out differently. Royal surprisingly made the 1-1 draw, which was irregular in the making, because the hit was preceded by an unjustified corner kick. Referee Paul Tierney should have previously decided to kick for Eintracht, but he did not. Viktor Fischer crossed from the corner to Radja Nainggolan, who volleyed the ball – and, to the horror of Eintracht, landed in the Frankfurter Tor. Rafael Borré had deflected slightly, Evan Ndicka decisive, so that Kevin Trapp had no chance of defense (33.).

Substitute Gonçalo Paciência saves a point for Eintracht.


Substitute Gonçalo Paciência saves a point for Eintracht.
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Image: Reuters

Despite the unexpected equalization, Eintracht stayed on course with their offensive game. Five minutes before the break it was again the playful Kamada who convinced with a good action. But Lindström didn’t know how to capitalize on it. Even midfield clearer Kristijan Jakic joined in the attacks of Eintracht again and again. After his solo in the 42nd minute there was applause from the audience. Immediately before the end of the first part of the game, Borré and the hardworking and prudent Djbril Sow presented themselves further opportunities.

Bengalos as an atmospheric low point

Even after the break, the tension continued. Eintracht had more of the game, but always had to be focused and concentrated so that Royal could not fully develop. After an hour it was Chandler again who tried a left-footed shot, but goalkeeper Jean Butez was on the lookout. On the other side, the Belgians drew attention to themselves. In the guest block, supposed fans ignited a number of Bengalos. It was a first atmospheric low point in a game that Eintracht wanted to end with power as a winner. A second followed seven minutes later. Just at the moment when the advanced libero Makoto Hasebe entered the penalty area in Antwerp and played a pass, a cannon blast was ignited a few meters away from the Japanese.

Playfully it continued with a substitution. Glasner brought in Sam Lammers for Borré in the 69th minute, but the Dutchman also failed to score the winning goal until the end. On the contrary: It was the Belgians who hit it cold and believed they were already in the lead. After a free kick by Fischer, captain Ritchie De Laet brought the ball into the Frankfurt goal as it fell. The initially recognized hit was withdrawn after the video referee intervened due to an offside position.

The “cool Europe night” that Eintracht coach Glasner was looking forward to came at the very end. Paciencia with a massive header after preparatory work by Kostic equalized the interim lead of the Belgians and again made for evening feelings of happiness.

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