Eintracht progress to last 32 despite defeat
Eintracht Frankfurt qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League as runners-up of Group F following a 3-2 defeat at home to Vitória Guimaraes.
Having recovered from conceding an early goal to lead 2-1 at the break, the Eagles looked to be heading through as group winners but two late goals meant they were grateful to Arsenal’s comeback in the other match.
Personnel: Two changes from the weekend
Adi Hütter made two changes to the team that started in last Friday’s 2-2 draw against Hertha BSC. David Abraham – who is currently serving a domestic ban – replaced Almamy Touré at the back, while Sebastian Rode came in for Gelson Fernandes in midfield.
First half: Eagles fight back after early setback
The match could not have started any worse for the Eagles, who were hit on the break in the eighth minute when Rochinha broke free to put the Portuguese side in front. However, after a shaky start, Eintracht settled into the game and started to force their opponents back. Their first big chance arrived on the half-hour mark when Goncalo Paciencia’s powerful header was tipped over the bar by Miguel Silva.
The Vitoria goalkeeper was left red-faced just seconds later, though, when he allowed Danny da Costa’s headed pass to slip through his fingers and into the net. If there was an element of luck about the equaliser, the goal that put Eintracht in front was down to sheer quality. Filip Kostic’s excellent low ball across the six-yard box was on a plate for Daichi Kamada, who netted his third goal in the competition. Andre Silva almost made it 3-1 at the end of the first half, but he was denied by the foot of his namesake.
Second half: Late goals give Eagles a scare
Unsurprisingly, the tempo was lower in the second half, with the Eagles largely in control but unable to find another goal to settle the nerves. They were given a scare in the 55th minute when Florent Hanin’s ferocious effort crashed against the upright, while at the other end, Martin Hinteregger came close to continuing his goalscoring run when he headed wide from a corner.
The game was then turned on its head again during the closing stages. First Vitoria equalised when Almoatasembellah Al Musrati’s shot took a big deflection and landed in the net, and just two minutes later, substitute Marcus Edwards put the visitors in front with another deflected shot that Frederik Rönnow could do nothing about. Thankfully, the result was immaterial as the draw between Standard Liège and Arsenal in the other match meant the Eagles went through as group runners-up.
Summary: Frustration and relief
Ultimately, Eintracht will be relieved to have made it through to the Europa League knockout rounds for the second year in a row. However, Hütter will certainly not be happy with the way his side let Vitoria back into this game and will be looking for an improvement ahead of three Bundesliga games in the space of a week.
Rönnow - Abraham, Hinteregger, Hasebe - Da Costa, Rode (Fernandes 78’), Sow, Kostic - Kamada – Silva (Gacinovic 73’), Paciencia
0-1 Rochinha (8’)
1-1 da Costa (31’)
2-1 Kamada (38’)
2-2 Al Musrati (85’)
2-3 Edwards (87’)