Eintracht Frankfurt through to UEFA Europa League quarter-finals after Luka Jovic chip downs Inter Milan
Luka Jovic’s super first-half lob gave Eintracht Frankfurt a win at Italian giants Inter Milan and see the Bundesliga club through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Inter Milan 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (Aggregate: 0-1)
Goals: 0-1 Jovic (6‘)
Eintracht almost had a dream start as Filip Kostic’s low driven effort in the second minute was parried by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic into the path of Sebastien Haller, but the striker lifted his effort onto the crossbar under extreme pressure from the Inter defence. Frankfurt weren’t to be denied for too long though as Jovic took advantage of sloppy defending by Stefan de Vrij to run in behind and loft the ball over the helpless Handanovic and leave the Italian side in need of two unanswered goals to progress. It was Eintracht, however, who always looked the most likely to score next and Handanovic was again called into action to deny Mijat Gacinovic from close range after the midfielder had intercepted the ball on the halfway line.
The Milan club came out with much greater intent in the second half but still failed to really test goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in the Frankfurt goal. The Germany international has his defence to thank for that as Danny da Costa, Martin Hinteragger, Makoto Hasebe and Evan N’Dicka repelled everything that came near to the Eintracht penalty area. Jovic had a good chance to wrap the tie up but snatched at a left-footed effort. It didn’t matter, however, as the Serbian’s first-half strike was enough following the 0-0 draw in the first leg at the Commerzbank Arena to take Frankfurt through to the quarter-finals. The draw for the last eight takes place on Friday at 1pm CET, and Eintracht will be drawn against one of Arsenal, Benfica, Chelsea, Napoli, Slavia Prague, Valencia or Villarreal.
- Eintracht are unbeaten in the Europa League this season (W8, D2) and are the competition's third-highest top scorers with 24 goals.
- Jovic is fourth in the 2018/19 Europa League's scoring charts with seven goals, one behind Salzburg's Munas Dabbur and Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder, and two off Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud.
- This was Frankfurt’s second win in Italy this season after beating Lazio 2-1 in Rome to give them a perfect record of six wins from six games in the group stage.
- Eintracht have now kept six successive clean sheets in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League.
- Frankfurt are the first German team in Europa League history to record eight wins in a single campaign.
- Inter have lost their last four home games against German clubs.
Inter: Handanovic (c) - D’Ambrosio, de Vrij, Skriniar, Cedric (Ranocchia 62') – Candreva, Vecino, Borja Valero (Esposito 73') – Politano (Merola 80'), Keita Balde, Perisic
Unused subs: Padellio, Gavioli, Zappa, Brozovic
Out: Asamoah, Martinez (both suspended), Miranda (broken nose), Nainggolan (muscle injury), Icardi (knee), Gagliardini, Joao Mario, Dalbert (all ineligible)
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
Frankfurt: Trapp – Da Costa, Hinteregger, Hasebe (c), N'Dicka - Gacinovic (De Guzman 59'), Rode (Paciencia 89'), Willems (Stendera 73'), Kostic - Haller, Jovic
Unused subs: Rönnow, Falette, Russ, Tawatha
Out: Abraham (fitness), Chandler (fitness), Fernandes (suspended), Rebic (knee)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Watch: All of Jovic's Bundesliga goals!
As it happened
FULL-TIME! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Eintracht Frankfurt are through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League!
90'+4 CHANCE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Handanovic will have some sore hands after this game and again he's needed to deny a powerful Kostic drive after a short free-kick by Eintracht.
90'+1 CHANCE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Jovic almost puts an end to Inter's resistance with a diving header from De Guzman's cross, but it's straight at Handanovic from six yards! We're into six minutes of added time at the San Siro...
87' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Makoto Hasebe has gone down after a nasty clash of heads with Ranocchia inside the Eintracht penalty area and is being treated with ice.
77' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Eintracht have men forward on the break but Kostic decides to go alone down the left. He sells Politano a dummy to cut inside, but the Inter man actually slips to dispossess the Serbian and cut out the danger.
73' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
A change apiece here as Marc Stendera replaces Jetro Willems in the Eintracht midfield and 16-year-old striker Sebastiano Esposito comes on for Borja Valero.
71' CHANCE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Trapp was in some trouble here though as Milan Skriniar lets fly from the edge of the box, but N'Dicka gets a telling touch on the shot to deflect it behind.
70' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Slight moment of panic at the back for Frankfurt as Candreva attempts to catch Trapp off his line, but the goalkeeper judges the flight perfectly to catch in ample time.
68' CHANCE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
The opportunities are coming now for Eintracht as Inter push for the goals they need, but Jovic snatches at this left-footed effort somewhat and drags it well wide.
66' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Trapp, on the other hand, is forced to make a telling save for just the second time tonight, but this was regulation from a tame Politano shot.
65' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Samir Handanovic is again called into action in the Inter goal, this time to deny a powerful effort from Kostic.
63' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Rode takes one for the team by blocking Vecino inside the Inter half - yellow card for the Eintracht man.
59' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Mijat Gacinovic has been excellent for Frankfurt tonight but has been struggling since that chance a few moments ago so is replaced by Jonathan de Guzman just short of the hour mark.
56' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
The game is becoming somewhat stretched now as Inter go in search of the two goals they need. A Frankfurt counter ends with Gacinovic being crowded out, and then Inter go up the other end with Politano trying a curling effort with his left foot, but Trapp can watch it sail comfortably wide.
55' CHANCE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Rapid transition play from the Bundesliga side ends with Haller creating space for a shot to the left of goal, but Handanovic adjusts his feet well to make the save at his near post.
52' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Borja Valero decides it's too dangerous to let Jovic run free at goal so scythes the Frankfurt man down on the halfway line at the expense of a yellow card.
48' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Like he was in the first half, De Vrij is almost punished again for slack defending as he's tackled on the edge of his own box by Jovic. The Serbian tries to get his shot away inside the box but slips at the vital moment.
KICK-OFF! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
We're back underway at the San Siro with both sides returning unchanged from the changing rooms.
HALF-TIME! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Eintracht Frankfurt are halfway to the Europa League quarter-finals and you can hear how delighted their travelling fans are with the performance, and most importantly, the result after 45 minutes at the San Siro. Luka Jovic's strike means the Eagles have an away goal to their name and that Inter Milan need two to knock Eintracht out.
44' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Does that count as a shot on target for the Italian side? Former Dortmund and Wolfsburg winger Ivan Perisic cuts inside from the left and has an effort deflected towards goal by the boot of Hasebe, but it's a comfortable save for Trapp.
40' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Yet more slack play from the home side as Gacinovic intercepts a ball. This time he lays it off to Jovic, who looks for his second with an effort from range but it's well over from the 21-year-old.
39' CHANCE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
A great opportunity for Eintracht to possibly put this tie to bed. Gacinovic intercepts a pass on the halfway line and runs the length of the Inter half unchallenged, reaching the six-yard box before taking his shot, but it's saved well down to his left by Handanovic, who also reacts well to prevent Haller snaffling up the rebound.
36' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
The Milan club are growing into this game a bit more as the half wears on. They're upping the pressure on Frankfurt with a succession of corners, but each time the Eagles' defence is repelling them.
30' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
On-loan left-back Cedric Soares decides to try his luck from 30 yards but it's another wild effort from Inter, who are yet to register a shot on target in this game.
27' OFFSIDE! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Inches away from a second for the Bundesliga side as they throw men forward, Sebastian Rode spreading the ball out to Danny da Costa on the right. The full-back puts in a flat cross, which Haller tucks home at the front post but the linesman signals that the Frenchman was offside and the goal won't count.
24' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Antonio Candreva has space to shoot from a good 25 yards, but it's a wild effort from the Italian and Kevin Trapp can watch it sail into the stand behind him.
21' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Danilo D'Ambrosio goes in high on Mijat Gacinovic and is shown a yellow card. Eintracht with a free-kick on the left touchline but it's cleared at the first attempt.
20' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
A chance for the home side to bring themselves level as Keita Balde runs onto a flicked header and has the pace to beat Makoto Hasebe, but the Senegalese forward takes a very heavy touch and Trapp can come out to collect the ball.
13' INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-1)
Jetro Willems goes in search of a second for Eintracht with a powerful driven effort from 25 yards, but it flies just wide of the home goal.
6' GOAL! INTER 0-1 FRANKFURT - Jovic! (AGG: 0-1)
Eintracht do have their perfect start! Defender Stefan de Vrij makes a horrible mess of a long ball, heading the ball backwards for Luka Jovic to run onto and chip over Handanovic for his seventh Europa League goal of the season. Inter now need two if they want to progress...
3' OFF THE BAR! INTER 0-0 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-0)
What an early chance for Eintracht to take control of this tie. Filip Kostic's driven effort across goal is only parried by goalkeeper Handanovic, but it falls to Sebsatien Haller who, under pressure, can only lift the rebound against the Inter crossbar. So close to the perfect start for the Bundesliga club.
KICK-OFF! INTER 0-0 FRANKFURT (AGG: 0-0)
By no means full inside the 80,000-capacity San Siro as we get this Europa League last-16 second leg underway.
15,000 FRANKFURTERS IN MILAN
One of the best supported clubs in Europe, Eintracht have brought around 15,000 fans with them to Italy for this Europa League second leg. Expect to hear plenty of German inside the San Siro tonight!
FIVE REASONS FRANKFURT CAN BEAT INTER
5) Frankfurt's solid defence
Contrary to appearance, Frankfurt's game is not purely about attacking and scoring goals. They also have a particularly solid defence – the fourth-meanest in the Bundesliga and the Europa League to be precise. Makoto Hasebe's transformation from midfielder to defensive lynchpin has given his career a new lease of life, while Martin Hinteregger, David Abraham and Evan N'Dicka have ensured only around a third of the goals Frankfurt's watertight rearguard have conceded this season have come down the middle, with the rest coming from wing play.
That will not be good news for Inter, who are heavily reliant on a single central striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation – Mauro Icardi up until when he was scrapped of the club captaincy earlier this month, and summer signing Lautaro Martinez since. Danny Da Costa will have no qualms about marking former Wolfsburg man Ivan Perisic or Matteo Politano either, having established himself as one of the brightest wing-backs in the division, and a candidate for national team duty.
FIVE REASONS FRANKFURT CAN BEAT INTER
4) History on their side
Frankfurt have already proven this season that they can get the better of Serie A opposition, cruising to a 4-1 win at home to Lazio before beating Inter's league rivals 2-1 in their own Stadio Olimpico. Furthermore, they beat Napoli 1-0 home and away in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup, although they did then lose out to eventual finalists Juventus. That 3-0 defeat to the Bianconeri was, however, their one and only loss in six meetings with Serie A opposition, with four wins and a draw completing an impressive record against Italian sides. History, it would appear, is also on Frankfurt's side.
FIVE REASONS FRANKFURT CAN BEAT INTER
3) Hütter warming hearts
When Niko Kovac defected to Bayern Munich after leading Frankfurt to DFB Cup glory last season, and one of their key individuals Kevin-Prince Boateng left the nest, there was no lack of concern that the Eagles had landed. In came Hütter, fresh from breaking FC Basel's eight-year dominance of Swiss football with Young Boys, for his first experience of German football after having also won the Austrian Bundesliga. Following elimination from the cup in the first round, Frankfurt were 15th after winning just one of their first five Bundesliga fixtures.
Fast-forward five months and Frankfurt are again knocking on the door of European football next season with a flowing brand of football that is earning them widespread acclaim, at home and in Europe. Hütter made a name for himself in Austria and Switzerland for this entertaining, attacking philosophy and, after the initial teething problems, Frankfurt are once again flying. Over in Milan, on the other hand, Luciano Spalletti continues to divide opinion and a recent blip in form saw doubts raised about his future at the Nerazzurri: stability vs. instability.
FIVE REASONS FRANKFURT CAN BEAT INTER
2) Europe's form team
With seven wins and one draw, the unbeaten Eagles boast the best record of any club in Europe this season. The only blot on their otherwise shiny white copybook was their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk – where they led twice. They flexed their muscles in the return leg, though, with a 4-1 win completing a 6-3 aggregate triumph to ensure they remain Europe's form team, together with last season's beaten finalists Salzburg. Inter, on the other hand, were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
FIVE REASONS FRANKFURT CAN BEAT INTER
1) Scariest front three in Europe
Don't just take our word for it – it is a fact! Frankfurt have scored 23 goals in the Europa League this season – more than any other club. With Luka Jovic the tournament's second-highest scorer with six, and Sebastien Haller just one behind on five, Hütter boasts some of the finest tools around for picking the lock to the last eight. Domestically, only four clubs in the whole of Europe have a three-man attack delivering more goals than Jovic, Haller and Ante Rebic, who have struck 35 times in the Bundesliga this season.
That company is quite illustrious too, with Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar-Edinson Cavani-Kylian Mbappe triumvirate, followed by Barcelona's Lionel Messi-Luis Suarez-Ousmane Dembele-inspired attack, and English clubs Liverpool and Manchester City. Italian clubs may be famed for the strength of their defences, but when you have such a potent front three, that is the least of Frankfurt's concerns.
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