Eintracht ease past 10-man West Ham into Europa League final
Eintracht Frankfurt beat 10-man West Ham United 1-0 in their Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday to reach their first European final in 42 years with a 3-1 aggregate victory.
The Germans, who last featured in a European final in 1980, will face Rangers on May 18 after the Scottish side knocked out RB Leipzig.
In front of a deafening 48,000 crowd, Rafael Borre drilled in the winner for the hosts in the 26th minute, beating the English club for a second time following a 2-1 triumph in the first leg 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 angrily kicking a ball in a frustrating and scrappy end to West Ham’s European run this season.
“A dream has finally come true,” Eintracht president Peter Fischer said, surrounded by ecstatic fans who stormed the pitch on the final whistle.
“The team did it really well. This city and this environment deserved it. That’s football and now we will win this thing,” Fischer said.
It had not started well for Frankfurt, though, with defender Martin Hinteregger taken off after only eight minutes with a hamstring injury.
But the dismissal of Creswell opened up space down the wing for the Germans and Ansgar Knauff made the most of it when he charged through and delivered a perfect ball for Borre to score.
West Ham hardly got a look in and their best chance came a minute from halftime when Kurt Zouma’s close-range effort was cleared off the line.
They were equally ineffectual after the break with Moyes’s frustration boiling over when he kicked the ball at a ball boy who he thought was trying to waste time.
“Really disappointed,” Moyes said. “Things didn’t go for us tonight. I am really proud of the players – how they played with 10 men was fantastic. Other teams would have folded and lost 2-0 or 3-0.
“I felt this was a chance. I think we’ve played better teams than Frankfurt. If we’re honest, we probably lost the tie in the first few seconds at the London Stadium.”
With the homes fans kicking off celebrations in the stands early for what turned out to be a memorable evening for the club struggling in mid-table in the Bundesliga, Eintracht comfortably held on to their lead.
Rangers fight back to reach Europa League final
John Lundstram struck 10 minutes from time to give Rangers a 3-1 win over RB Leipzig and send them into the Europa League final 3-2 on aggregate after a see-saw clash at a rocking Ibrox on Thursday.
Goals from James Tavernier, Glen Kamara and Lundstram ensured Rangers moved to the final for the first time since 2008, where they will face Eintracht Frankfurt, bidding to win a second European trophy 50 years after the 1972 Winners’ Cup.
Captain Tavernier opened the scoring in the 18th minute, becoming the Europa League’s top scorer this season with his seventh goal, before midfielder Kamara’s long-range effort six minutes later extended the lead.
Leipzig, who won the first leg 1-0, hit back when forward Christopher Nkunku received a perfect cross from Angelino to score in the 70th minute but Rangers claimed the vital goal when a defensive mix-up after a corner allowed Lundstram to sweep the ball home.
“It’s unbelievable. Towards the end Lunny (John Lundstram) came up with the goods. A European final, it’s what you dream of,” Tavernier told BT Sport.
“We’ll go there (final) full of confidence. Frankfurt got there for a reason, but it’s one game and we’ll fully back ourselves. We’re in this to win it. We want to make all the fans proud.”
Frankfurt are 11th in the Bundesliga and Rangers have already knocked out the German league’s second-placed Borussia Dortmund and fifth-placed Leipzig this season.
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