Europa League play-offs within touching distance as Eintracht coast past Vaduz
Eintracht Frankfurt have one foot in the next qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League following a comfortable 5-0 victory over FC Vaduz on Thursday evening.
Two goals from Filip Kostic and a further effort from Dominik Kohr gave the Eagles a three-goal cushion at half-time, before Goncalo Paciencia and Mijat Gacinovic added to the scoreline in the second half to give Eintracht a comfortable aggregate lead ahead of next week’s second leg at the Commerzbank-Arena.
Personnel: Hinteregger returns
The Eagles made four changes to the side that beat FC Flora in the second qualifying round second leg. David Abraham and the returning Martin Hinteregger replaced Almamy Toure and Evan Ndicka in defence, while Gelson Fernandes and Daichi Kamada were also recalled to the starting eleven in Liechtenstein. Lucas Torro and Dejan Joveljic had to settle for a place among the Eintracht substitutes.
First half: Filip’s on fire!
Hinteregger, making his first start since rejoining the Eagles on a permanent deal from FC Augsburg, almost gave Eintracht the lead inside the opening minute but flashed his header inches wide of the far post. Adi Hütter’s side did not have to wait long for a breakthrough, however, as Kostic rifled home an unstoppable shot from 25 metres to open the scoring in spectacular fashion. The Serbia international doubled his personal tally for the evening just over 15 minutes later, beating Vaduz goalkeeper Benjamin Büchel with a clinical finish, before Kohr swept home from a corner to give the visitors a commanding three-goal lead at the break.
Second half: Paciencia and Gacinovic on target
Eintracht refused to take their foot off the pedal in the second half and soon extended their comfortable advantage, Paciencia heading home Kostic’s cross for his third competitive goal of the season. It was 5-0 less than ten minutes later when Gacinovic latched onto Danny da Costa’s delivery and slotted confidently past Büchel to get his name on the scoresheet. The Eagles continued to push forward and could have scored twice more in the final ten minutes, but Hinteregger and Ante Rebic both failed to make the most of presentable opportunities. The Austrian defender headed narrowly wide from close range, before Rebic rattled a long-range shot against the crossbar in stoppage time.
Summary: One foot in the next round
Vaduz put up a good fight at the Rheinpark Stadion, but Eintracht’s place in the play-off round is all but secure. Hütter’s charges dominated from start to finish, creating a plethora of chances and scoring five excellent goals. The tie may be all but over, but the Eagles boss will hope to see another confident performance from his players in the return leg next week.
Wiedwald - Abraham, Hasebe, Hinteregger - Kohr, Fernandes (de Guzman 66’) - da Costa, Kostic - Gacinovic, Kamada (Rebic 73’) - Paciencia (Joveljic 73’)
0-1 Kostic (11’)
0-2 Kostic (27’)
0-3 Kohr (40’)
0-4 Paciencia (53’)
0-5 Gacinovic (63’)