A goal in the fourth minute of added time consigned Eintracht Frankfurt to a 2-1 defeat at Standard Liège in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night after they had drawn level through Filip Kostic.
It’s a heart-breaking blow for the Eagles, who deserved at least a point from the game and could have snatched all three, with Kostic missing a glorious opportunity immediately before the winning goal.
Personnel: Two changes from Bayern win
Head coach Adi Hütter’s line-up showed two changes from the brilliant 5-1 win over Bayern Munich on Saturday. Makoto Hasebe was restored to the back three at the expense of Evan Ndicka, while Andre Silva came in for Bas Dost up front.
First half: Silva closest to breaking deadlock
It was a cagey start to the game at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, with most of the play happening in midfield. Eintracht did have the majority of the possession and looked more likely to make something happen, with Silva shooting straight at Standard goalkeeper Arnaud Bodart and Goncalo Paciencia volleying wide from a difficult angle.
The Eagles continued to wait patiently for their chances and their best one of the half came in the 34th minute. After miscuing his own finish, Djibril Sow fed the ball back into the danger area for Silva, who headed against the post from close distance. That sparked the home side into life and they came close to grabbing a goal just before half-time, Duje Cop stabbing the ball past Frederik Rönnow but wide of the post.
Second half: Kostic almost the hero
Liège made a bright start to the second half and took the lead with 56 minutes on the clock when Renaud Emond flicked on a corner towards Zinho Vanheusden, who headed home at the far post. The Eagles responded well to going behind, though, with Kostic twice testing Bodart. It was then third time lucky for the Serbian winger as he drew Eintracht level in the 65th minute, rolling a low free-kick into the bottom corner of the net from just outside the area.
With a point not much good to anyone, both sides searched for a winner as the contest opened up towards the end. The Eagles looked like they might get it in injury time when Kostic broke through on goal, but he snatched at his shot and fired wide. In a demonstration of just how quickly things can turn in football, Liège went straight up the other end and scored as substitute Maxime Lestienne got in between two Eintracht defenders and poked the ball in.
Summary: Fate still in their own hands
The Eagles were understandably not quite at the same level as they were at against Bayern on Saturday, but few would argue they didn’t deserve a point and on another night, they could’ve taken all three. This result throws things open in Group F but Hütter’s side nevertheless have their destiny in their own hands going into the final two group games.
Rönnow – Abraham, Hinteregger, Hasebe – Da Costa (Chandler 89’), Rode, Fernandes, Sow, Kostic – Silva (Kamada 62’), Paciencia (Dost 73’)
1-0 Vanheusden (56’)
1-1 Kostic (65’)
2-1 Lestienne (90+4’)