Eintracht Frankfurt set up a UEFA Europa League semi-final with English Premier League club Chelsea after beating Benfica on the away-goals rule.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 Benfica (4-4 on aggregate)
Goals: 1-0 Kostic (36'), 2-0 Rode (67')
Trailing 4-2 following their first-leg defeat in Lisbon a week ago, Frankfurt knew they had to score at least twice to have any chance of reaching the last four. Filip Kostic took the initiative in the early stages, firing straight at Odisseas Vlachodimos and teeing up Luka Jovic for a half chance the Serbian put wide. Eintracht continued to probe as Jovic warmed the palms of Vlochidomos, before Kostic got the breakthrough. Ante Rebic was the architect with a slaloming run and fine pass to Mijat Gacinovic, whose first-time shot came back off the post and fell kindly for Kostic to slam home from a tight angle.
Benfica were teetering, but the visitors came out fighting after the restart as Simon Falette put in a goal-saving lunge to prevent a red shirt from turning in Joao Felix’s inviting cross. Former Frankfurt striker Haris Seferovic looped a header into the arms of Kevin Trapp, but Eintracht rode the storm and came out the other side with renewed vigour as Gacinovic tested Vlochidomos from range and Rebic headed over. Sebastian Rode made no such mistake when he side-footed in Rebic's lay-off with 67 minutes on the clock to give Frankfurt the aggregate lead, though Benfica nearly snatched the win late on when Salvio volleyed against the base of the post.
- Frankfurt have scored at least two goals in 10 of their last 12 European games.
- Eintracht were European Cup finalists in 1960 and won the 1980 UEFA Cup. They are already enjoying their best run in Europe since 1995.
- Kostic has scored four goals in 10 Europa League appearances this season.
- Rebic registered assists in both games, but was booked home and away, and will miss the first leg against Chelsea.
- Frankfurt are the 2018/19 competition's second-highest scorers on 28 goals, two behind semi-final opponents Chelsea.
- Seferovic scored 16 goals in 96 games for Frankfurt, before moving to Benfica in the summer of 2017.
Frankfurt: Trapp – Hasebe, Abraham (c), Falette (Willems 90+2') – Da Costa, Rode (Torro 86'), Fernandes (c), Kostic – Gacinovic - Rebic, Jovic (Paciencia 76')
Unused subs: Rönnow, Chandler, Russ, De Guzman
Out: Haller (abdominal strain), Hinteregger (knock), Tawatha (ankle), Toure (thigh)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Benfica: Vlochidomos – Almeida (Jonas 79'), Dias, Jardel (c), Grimaldo – Fernandes, Samaris (Pizzi 70'), Fejsa, Silva (Salvio 72') – Felix, Seferovic
Unused subs: Svilar, Ferro, Florentino Luis, Cervi
Out: Conti (foot), Ebuehi (ACL), Gabriel (knee)
Coach: Bruno Lage
As it happened
FULL TIME! EINTRACHT HAVE DONE IT!
Frankfurt manage to break up the pitch and keep the ball near the corner flag. The referee blows his whistle and the stadium erupts as Frankfurt seal their place in the last four on the away goals rule!
90+4' STREETWISE HASEBE
Hasebe goes to ground in some pain after putting his head in the way to stop Joao Felix shooting. He takes a boot to his face for his trouble and stays on the ground, eating up several more precious seconds.
90+2' LAST SUB FOR FRANKFURT
Jetro Willems is brought on for Falette, who has gone down with what looks like cramp in his calf after making a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Salvio a shooting opportunity.
90' FOUR MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME
Can Frankfurt hold on for another 240 seconds?
89' BENFICA PUSHING
The visitors are throwing everyone forward now. Gedson Fernandes has a pop at goal from the edge of the box, but he snatches at it and the ball sails over the bar.
86' TORRO ON FOR RODE
Second change of the game for Frankfurt, replacing Rode - who hasn't stopped running all game - with some fresh legs in midfield in the form of Torro.
85' BENFICA HIT THE POST!
Grimaldo digs out a brilliant cross from the left which loops high across goal to the far post, where substitute Salvio charges in to catch it on the volley. His shot smacks against the base of the post and goes out of play, much to Frankfurt's relief.
83' REBIC BOOKED
The Frankfurt forward picks up a yellow card and will miss the first leg of the semi-finals through suspension, if Frankfurt go through.
82' SILKY FROM DA COSTA
The Frankfurt right wing-back does superbly to first win back possession and break up a Benfica attack before sprinting forward and jinking his way past three defenders. He passes inside to Rebic, before latching onto the return pass. He's clean through on goal but after his lung-busting effort he tires at just the wrong moment as he enters the box, a loose touch forcing him to check back before he can shoot, allowing Benfica time to clear.
78' RISKY FROM FALETTE
Falette is booked for bringing down Almeida just outside the Frankfurt penalty area, by the right-hand corner of the box. Pizzi takes the free-kick and swings it deep to the far post, where he finds Joao Felix, but his header sails over the bar.
76' PACIENCIA FOR JOVIC
Frankfurt make their first change of the night as Gonzalo Paciencia comes on for Jovic. The towering Portuguese forward has scored five goals in all competitions this season after recovering from injury, all of which have been headers. Can he profit from Kostic's excellent deliveries?
74' STICK OR TWIST?
What now for Frankfurt? Should they defend their lead or go for another goal? They're going for it by the looks of things, Hütter's men pouring forward at every opportunity to make the most of their momentum. Benfica are playing with greater urgency now though, so we're in for a griping final 15 minutes.
70' ON COMES PIZZI
Benfica coach Bruno Lage reacts to Frankfurt's goal by making an attacking substitution and bringing on Pizzi, who was a surprise absentee from the starting line-up.
67' GOAL! (Rode)
Frankfurt score again! Da Costa is first to an attempted Benfica clearance, heading the ball forward to Rebic, who lays it off to Rode on the edge of the box. The Borussia Dortmund loanee beats his marker to the ball and side-foots the ball into the bottom corner. Game on!
If the score stays the same, Frankfurt are going through on the away goals rule.
64' BENFICA RESISTING
If the visitors were unusually passive in the first half, they're trying to make amends now by the looks of things, pressing Frankfurt high up and looking for a goal that would be a demoralising blow for the home side - and their vociferous supporters. Gaps are starting to open up as Frankfurt seek the goal they need to go through.
59' REBIC HEADS OVER
Kovic, (yawn, him again) somehow spies Rebic's run into the box and picks him out with a brilliant cross. Rebic is first to it but heads just over the bar. He screams at himself in frustration, as it was an excellent chance.
Moments later, Kostic is involved again, pulling the ball back from the byline to Jovic, whose flick is blocked before it reaches the goal.
57' GACINOVIC MAGIC
Gacinovic ties Fejsa in knots about 35 yards from the Benfica goal, feigning to go to the left before jinking inside to the right. He's got a clear sight of goal, 25 yards out now, and tries to bend a shot into the far corner. It's a brilliant effort and has Vlochidomos worried enough to dive full stretch, but it whizzes a whisker wide of the post.
52' VISITORS ON TOP
Benfica get in behind Frankfurt's defence again and cause momentary panic with two balls across the face of goal. The hosts survive both times before possession is recycled and Samaris chips in a cross to Seferovic, who tries to loop a header over Trapp. The Frankfurt keeper is equal to it, though.
47' BENFICA GO CLOSE
The visitors have their best chance of the game so far as Joao Felix is released down the left. He gets into the box and shimmies away from Hasebe before cutting the ball across the face of goal. All it needs is a touch to go in, but Falette somehow manages to just squeeze the ball out of play beyond the far post. That's a huge let-off for Frankfurt - and goalkeeper Kevin Trapp knows it, gripping Falette in a bear-hug.
46' KOSTIC AT IT AGAIN
The second half is barely a few seconds old and Kostic scampers away from his marker and sends a teasing ball into the box. For a moment it looks like Da Costa will get there first at the back post, but it's just headed clear before he arrives.
Frankfurt get the match under way again. All they need is one more goal (without reply) to go through. Simple, right?
So far, so good for Frankfurt. They've been patient, controlled going forward and solid at the back, managing to keep Benfica quiet. Kostic's goal is the difference at the break and the 26-year-old has been excellent, while Rebic has become increasingly lively as the game has worn on.
45' FRANKFURT PUSHING
There's havoc in the Benfica box and Rebic does well to hold off his marker. He first plays it out to the right to Da Costa, whose drilled low shot is blocked, but it falls to Rebic again. This time he slides it out to the left to Kostic. He takes a touch to settle himself, just allowing a Benfica defender enough time to chase him down and block his shot.
There will be three minutes of added time.
43' JOVIC GOES CLOSE
Frankfurt have their next opportunity and guess who's involved? That's right: Kostic. The winger dinks in an inviting cross from the left and finds Jovic on the edge of the six-yard box. The ball's slightly too high for him though, and the 21-year-old can't keep his header down and it loops harmlessly out of play.
40' REWARD FOR KOSTIC
Frankfurt's goal came just at the right time, giving them a boost ahead of the half-time interval and leaving them needing just one more to advance to the semi-finals on the away-goals rule. It's fitting that Kostic is the scorer too, as he has been by far the best attacking player on the pitch so far.
36' GOAL! (Kostic)
Frankfurt take the lead on the night and it's been thoroughly deserved. Rebic squirms his way through a couple of challenges on the edge of the box and lays the ball off to Jovic, who strikes the base of the post with his first-time shot. The rebound falls to Kostic, who slides in from a tight angle on the left.
31' JOVIC HALF-CHANCE
Hasebe dispossesses Seferovic of the ball and launches a counter-attack with a back-heel to Fernandes. It's worked forward to Jovic, who links up with Rebic before receiving the ball back on the edge of the area. He has half a yard to shoot but doesn't make a clean connection and it's an easy save for Vlochidomos.
27' REBIC HEADER
Kostic is once again involved, finding space on the left. Two crosses are cut out, but he takes the resultant corner, curling in a out-swinger from the left to find Rebic, who beats his man to the ball but can't find the target with his header.
23' FRANKFURT PROBING
A roar starts to build in the stadium as Rebic tears away from his man down the right. He gets into the box and lays it square for the onrushing Jovic, but a defender reads the pass and is able to clear. Still, getting behind the defence for the first time in a while is an encouraging sign from the home time.
19' BENFICA STANDING FIRM
The pace of the game has dropped off somewhat over the last few minutes, which suits the visitors. Benfica are barely on the ball unless it's a counter-attack, but they're defending deep and in numbers, frustrating Frankfurt's attacking efforts.
14' KOSTIC INVOLVED
Frankfurt are on top at the moment and are getting some joy through Kostic down the left, where his pace is causing the visitors all sorts of problems. He curls in a cross for Jovic, whose header goes off target and eventually Benfica manage to break on the counter. It comes to nothing in the end, but Joao Felix is at the heart of everything the visitors do, so Frankfurt will need to be on their guard.
11' KOSTIC FURIOUS
Kostic wins a corner for Frankfurt, his pace taking him past two defenders before his attempted cross is eventually cut out. Rode takes in the resultant corner, playing it low towards Kostic on the edge of the area. The Serbian winger shapes to shoot, but the referee gets in his way and the chance goes begging. Kostic is, understandably, not best pleased.
8' FIRST CHANCE FOR EINTRACHT
Adi Hütter's charges get forward at pace down the right, with Da Costa feeding the ball inside to Rebic. The Croatian spies Kostic charging down the left and lays the ball off for him to shoot. Kostic catches it well enough just inside the box, but it's straight at Vlochidomos, who makes a routine save.
6' FERNANDES MAKES HIS PRESENCE FELT
Frankfurt hardman Gelson Fernandes wastes little time in giving a good old fashioned "welcome to Frankfurt" greeting to Joao Felix, clattering into the teenager in midfield. The 19-year-old was the architect behind Benfica's win last week, so the hosts are keeping close tabs on him here. Moments later, Makoto Hasebe does the same to the Portuguese playmaker.
3' PATIENT BEGIN
Frankfurt have seen more of the ball so far, but they're not pressing forward all guns blazing in an effort to get the goals they need right away. Instead, they're playing the ball around defence and midfield, getting all their players a touch so that they can settle.
Here we go as Benfica get the ball rolling! The atmosphere is rocking at the Commerzbank-Arena as the home fans look to cheer their team into the last four.
Makoto Hasebe, Filip Kostic, Ante Rebic and Sebastian Rode are all on yellow cards, and will miss the semi-final first leg if they get booked tonight and Frankfurt advance.
FERNANDES LAUDS FRANKFURT'S 12TH MAN
Everyone's talking about the Frankfurt masses, including Gelson Fernandes.
"Our stadium wows Germany and all of Europe," says the Frankfurt midfielder. "I always get lots of messages after our European home matches. We need to carry the positive energy from our fans into our game."
AM I IN FRANKFURT?
One Benfica fan travelled 28 hours to be at the game tonight, only he's not here. Alvaro Oliveira ended up in Frankfurt an der Oder, some 350 miles away from Frankfurt am Main. With a bit of luck it's a sign and Benfica won't 'turn up' in a metaphorical sense...
PACIENCIA EXPECTS 'DIFFERENT GAME'
Portugal striker Goncalo Paciencia was on target at the Estadio da Luz, and says Frankfurt's two away goals, plus home advantage and playing 11 vs. 11 could make all the difference at the Commerzbank-Arena.
"It’s all to play for," he told media before the game. "We didn’t play badly with 10 men in the first leg and, most importantly, we scored two goals so we’re still in the running. We’re playing at home with our fans, which is significant. It will be a different kind of game. We’ll show that we have character and passion."
HOW THEY GOT HERE - BENFICA
Benfica started out in Champions League group E alongside Bayern Munich, Ajax and AEK. After losing twice to Bayern and finishing third - five points adrift of second-placed Ajax - the 2017/18 Primeira Liha runners-up dropped into the Europa League, where they have accounted for Galatasaray (2-1 on agg.) and Dinamo Zagreb (3-1 on agg.) en route to the quarter-finals.
HOW THEY GOT HERE - FRANKFURT
Frankfurt had a perfect record in their group, beating Lazio, Apollon Limassol and Marseille home and away, scoring 17 and conceding only five goals. They then drew 2-2 with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, before winning the return leg 4-1 to advance to the last 16, where they were held at home but won 1-0 in Italy. Last week's defeat in Portugal prevented them from equalling Atletico Madrid's competition-record unbeaten 15-match run.
BENFICA TEAM NEWS
Haris Seferovic does indeed start against his former club. Franco Cervi is the man to make way. Andre Almeida returns at right-back after being rested for the first leg.
Benfica XI: Vlochidomos – Almeida, Dias, Jardel (c), Grimaldo – Fernandes, Samaris, Fejsa, Silva – Felix, Seferovic
FRANKFURT TEAM NEWS
Adi Hütter makes two changes to the side that lost 4-2 in Lisbon. Simon Falette comes for suspended defender Evan N'Dicka, while midfielder Mijat Gacinovic replaced injured centre-back Martin Hinteregger, with Makoto Hasebe dropping into the back three.
Frankfurt XI: Trapp – Hasebe, Abraham (c), Falette – Da Costa, Rode, Fernandes (c), Kostic – Gacinovic - Rebic, Jovic
SEFEROVIC TO START?
Joao Felix stole the show with his hat-trick in the first leg, but he's not Benfica's top marksman this season. That honour belongs to former Frankfurt striker Haris Seferovic. The Switzerland international has hit a career-best 23 goals in 45 matches in 2018/19, and heads the Primeira Liga scoring charts on 19 goals. His most productive season in three years as a Frankfurt player was in 2014/15, when he struck 10 goals in 32 Bundesliga outings. He only managed three in each of his following two campaigns, before joining Benfica. Will he start tonight after being used as a second-half substitute last week?
12 vs. 11
The Frankfurt faithful will have a major role to play as their beloved Eagles attempt to defy the odds and oust Benfica from the competition. The Commerzbank-Arena has only witnessed three defeats in the Bundesliga this season - against Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich - while in the Europa League there have been four wins and a draw.
THE FRANKFURT VIEW
"We need a perfect game," said Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter at his pre-match press conference. "We have to score goals, be very controlled when getting forward and also be patient.
"Ideally we won't give them any chances but will keep attacking well ourselves and make the right decisions at the right times. We need to be very careful when we lose possession because Benfica are incredibly quick and agile.
"We've show in our previous games that we can perform with quality at home. With our fans behind us, we'll do everything we can to reach the next round."
You might have heard of him... Frankfurt's Serbian sharpshooter has plundered 25 goals in all competitions this season, and took his Europa League tally to eight for the campaign with his strike in the first leg. Jovic had been on loan from Benfica since summer 2017, before Frankfurt exercised their option to buy the 21-year-old just yesterday. There's only one way to celebrate, surely...?
FRANKFURT BRING THE GOALS
Eintracht have scored a whopping 84 goals in their 42 matches in all competitions in 2018/19. And how about this for a good omen? Adi Hütter's free-scoring troupe have won by scorelines that would be enough for a spot in the semi-finals on 12 occasions.
FORM GUIDE - BENFICA
Benfica followed up their 4-2 win over Frankfurt with victory against Vitoria Setubal by the same scoreline. They're top of the Primeria Liga by virtue of their superior head-to-head record against second-placed Porto, with five rounds of fixtures remaining. Bruno Lage's men needed extra-time to overcome Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16...
FORM GUIDE - FRANKFURT
Eintracht were unbeaten in 14 matches in all competitions this calendar year - and in as many games in the Europa League - until their first-leg defeat in Lisbon. They lost again at the weekend to lowly Augsburg, though had to play the majority of the second half with ten men. Frankfurt remain fourth in the Bundesliga standings, though, and well placed to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage.
WHERE EAGLES DARE
It's a HUGE night for Frankfurt at the Commerzbank-Arena, where it is very much win by at least a two-goal margin or bust. The ten men of Eintracht went down 4-2 in Lisbon, but those two away goals could be absolutely crucial.
"If we do manage to pull it off, the whole of Frankfurt would go wild," says first-leg goalscorer Goncalo Paciencia. "The fans will go berserk."
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