Eintracht overtake West Ham to hold Europa final with Rangers

BETTING: Eintracht Frankfurt reached their first European final in 42 years after a 1-0 home win over 10-man West Ham on Thursday sealed a 3-1 aggregate win in the Europa League semi-final.

The Germans, who last appeared in a European final in 1980, will face Rangers on May 18 in Seville after a 3-1 victory against RB Leipzig on Thursday saw the Scottish champions go 3-2 on aggregate.

In the inaugural Europa Conference League, Tammy Abraham’s first-half header earned Serie A’s AS Roma a place in the final in the Albanian capital Tirana on May 25 where they meet Dutch club Feyenoord after two halves tight finals.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma beat Leicester City 1-0 to win their draw 2-1 on aggregate, while Feyenoord held Olympique Marseille at home to a 0-0 draw on the south coast of France and advanced 3-2.

Eintracht, who lost to Chelsea on penalties in the 2019 Europa League semi-final, are playing in their first European final since winning the UEFA Cup, the Europa League’s forerunner, in 1979/80.

They are now just one win away from qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since losing the 1960 European Cup final to Real Madrid.

“A dream has finally come true,” said Eintracht chairman Peter Fischer, surrounded by ecstatic fans who stormed the pitch at the final whistle. “The team did it very well. This city and this environment deserved it. It’s football and now we’re going to win this thing,” Fischer said.

In front of a deafening crowd of 48,000, Rafael Borre netted the winner for the hosts in the 26th minute, beating the English club for the second time after a 2-1 first leg triumph last week.

West Ham, who played most of the game with 10 men after left-back Aaron Cresswell was dismissed for a professional foul on Jens Petter Hauge in the 17th minute, were toothless throughout.

Their manager David Moyes was also sent off in the 79th minute for kicking the ball angrily in a frustrating and disjointed end to West Ham’s European run this season.

“Very disappointed. Things didn’t happen for us overnight,” Moyes told BT Sport. “There were no small things but I’m really proud of the players. The way they played with 10 men was fantastic. They stayed there. »

Rangers lost to Zenit St Petersburg in the 2008 UEFA Cup final but had to start from the fourth tier of Scottish football after a financial collapse in 2012.

Last season they ended Celtic’s run of nine consecutive league titles and will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2010 with victory over Eintracht at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 13 days.

In a rocking Ibrox, John Lundstram struck the winner 10 minutes from time for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers, bidding for a second European trophy 50 years after the 1972 Winners’ Cup.

“I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far,” said Van Bronckhorst. “Once you are in the final, we have to do everything to win it too.”

Leipzig’s 1-0 first leg advantage was swept away early on. Captain James Tavernier opened the scoring in the 18th minute, becoming the Europa League’s top scorer this season with his seventh goal, before midfielder Glen Kamara’s long-range effort six minutes later extended the lead.

Leipzig fought back when striker Christopher Nkunku received a perfect cross from Angelino to score in the 70th minute, but Rangers scored the vital goal when defensive confusion after a corner allowed Lundstram to drive the ball home. home.

Third-tier Europa Conference League winners will automatically qualify for the 2022/23 Europa League group stage unless they reach the Champions League group stages next season.

There was little to choose between Roma and Leicester in a bouncing Stadio Olimpico in Rome, where the decisive goal came in the 11th minute as Leicester’s set-piece frailties this season were again been exhibited.

Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner was met with a header from England international Abraham, who guided the ball into the net.

It took 78 minutes for Leicester to have a first shot on target as they battled to create clean chances against the well-organised home side, who reach their first European final since losing to fellow countrymen Inter Milan in the 1991 UEFA Cup.

The final will give Mourinho a chance to add another trophy to his collection and claim his first European trophy since winning the 2017 Europa League with Manchester United. He also won the Champions League twice.

“I shed a tear because my emotions were with everyone who loves this club,” said an exhausted Mourinho. “It’s a giant club without the trophy room compared to the social dimension of the club. It’s not a trophy, it’s a final, but it means a lot to them.

The second leg of the semi-final between Marseille and Feyenoord was marred by fan violence during the build-up as fans from both sides clashed and with police, while a brick was thrown at the visiting team bus.

The first leg had been a five-goal thriller, but it was more a matter of caution with the best chance of the first half for Marseille’s Dimitri Payet, who cut off a shot wide when he should have scored.

Marseille insisted on scoring the goal they needed to equalize on aggregate, but Feyenoord held on to reach their first European final since winning the UEFA Cup for the second time in 2002.

“I’m not thinking about Mourinho or Roma yet but it will be a big final,” admitted Feyenoord coach Arne Slot.

Posted in Dawn, May 7, 2022

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