Goals from Filip Kostic and Daichi Kamada in Spain earned Eintracht Frankfurt a 2-1 first-leg advantage over Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
Real Betis 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Goals: 0-1 Kostic (14’), 1-1 Fekir (30’), 1-2 Kamada (32’)
Both sides exchanged chances in the opening minutes, with Betis starting to come into the game after a bright Frankfurt start. But any momentum evaporated in an instant as Eintracht talisman Kostic lobbed Claudio Bravo from wide on the left. Some may say it was a cross, but nobody of a Frankfurt persuasion will have cared as it nestled in the net. The hosts drew level on the half hour when their star man Nabil Fekir cut in off the right and picked out the far bottom corner. However, the delight of the Spanish crowd lasted barely 120 seconds as the Bundesliga club retook the lead. Jesper Lindstrom took advantage of some loose passing at the back to nip in and draw in three Betis defenders before squaring for Kamada for a simple finish inside the six-yard box.
Die Adler were given another chance to extend their advantage in the tie early in the second half when Lindstrom drew a handball from makeshift left-back Aitor Ruibal, but Rafael Borre’s penalty was saved by Bravo. It was the start of a Colombian-Chilean personal dual as the Eintracht striker was twice played in one-on-one but denied both times by the Betis goalkeeper to stop Frankfurt from building a greater lead. Eintracht were well worth their first-leg victory, mustering up seven attempts on target to the hosts’ three, and are well placed ahead of the return fixture in Frankfurt next Thursday.
- Kamada is Eintracht’s leading scorer in this year’s competition with four goals. He’s also the highest scoring Japanese player in UEFA Cup/Europa League history with 10 in 17 games.
- Kostic got his first goal since November against Freiburg. It was his fourth of the season, equalling his total from the whole of 2020/21 (four in 30 games).
- Since Kostic’s Europa League debut in 2018/19, only Bruno Fernandes has scored more goals from outside the box (four) than Frankfurt’s Serbian.
- This was the first time Frankfurt had scored two goals in the first half of an away game in the Europa League.
- Eintracht are still yet to lose away at a Spanish club (W3, D1) and extended their unbeaten run against clubs from Spain to six games. Their sole defeat was the first encounter, against Real Madrid in the 1659/60 European Cup final.
- Although unbeaten at home in Europa League group stages, Betis have still never won a knockout game in the competition on their own turf (D2, L3). Seville is also the host city for this year’s final.
Betis: Bravo - Sabaly, Pezzella, Gonzalez, Ruibal (Tello 77’) - Rodriguez, Carvalho (Miranda 61’) - Canales (c), Fekir, Juanmi (Joaquin 61’) - Jose (Iglesias 77’)
Unused subs: Robles, Silva, Bartra, Ruiz, Lainez, Rodri
Out: Montoya (Achilles)
Coach: Manuel Pellegrini
Frankfurt: Trapp (c) - Tuta, Hinteregger, N'Dicka - Knauff, Sow, Jakic, Kostic - Lindstrom (Hauge 73’), Kamada (Lenz 78’) - Borre (Lammers 86')
Unused subs: Grahl, Horz, Hrustic, Rode, Toure, Hasebe, Chandler, Da Costa, Barkok
Out: Ache (hamstring), Paciencia (suspended), Ramaj (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
As it happened!
Frankfurt take control
That's a great result for Eintracht, who win the first leg thanks to goals from Kostic and Kamada. It could have been even better for the visitors, who missed a penalty through Borre and a series of good chances to put this tie out of sight.
More Eintracht chances
Lammers smashes one off target. Not long afterwards, Kostic lashes one at goal from the left but Bravo is there again with a flying save.
This cracking Round of 16, first leg will have four extra minutes.
Knauff almost kills it off
Ansgar Knauff goes on an epic run that takes him all the way through into the Betis area. A weak shot follows, however, which Bravo gathers.
Almost for Borre
Another chance for Borre who can't quite get the ball out of his feet, allowing Joaquin to get the ball away.
Hosts increase the pressure
Manuel Pellegrini's men are looking for a big finish here as Eintracht settle in and look to break. The Eagles have never lost in Spain in three previous visits, remember. Can Oliver Glasner's men hold out for what would be a memorable victory here?
Canales has a pop
He's been busy throughout this game and Sergio Canales looks to fire his team level with a shot that Trapp deals with comfortably.
Superb work from Kamada who races into the Betis box and cuts back for Borre, who again finds the palms of Bravo. Eintracht probably should have extended their lead there.
Eintracht still in frontThe visitors are showing no let up in their attacking intent here. This first-leg is wide open.
The Betis keeper denies Borre from point-blank range. Was Borre a touch offside there? In any case, Eintracht win a corner.
The Danish attacker gets down the right and lifts a decent centre into space which Bravo grabs at the second attempt.
Opportunities at both ends with Canales firing wide following a Betis counter and then Kostic drilling off target at the other end when well placed.
Bravo to the rescue
Borre's penalty is well stopped by Bravo, who is now being hailed by the same fans that were whistling him just moments ago. Redemption.
PENALTY Eintracht !
Handball in the area and the visitors with a great chance for 3-1.
Bravo enduring a tough evening
Claudio Bravo shanks a clearance out for a throw in under no pressure and the home crowd get right on the back of the former Barcelona 'keeper, who is not having his best game.
Back underway !
Here we go again. The second half begins as the lights come up at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Both sets of teams head in for a merited breather after a terrific opening 45 minutes. Eintracht will be delighted with their display here, Die Adler leading through Kostic's 'did he, didn't he mean it' cross-shot that drifted in and Kamada's sucker punch just after Betis had equalised.
Canales tries one
The Betis No.10 tries to trick Trapp with a shot back across goal but that one zips wide of the upright.
Tremendous entertainment This has been a full-blooded game thus far with the challenges and goals flying in. The referee has had a busy one.
Kamada on target !
Amazing scenes. Shortly after they conceded the equaliser, Eintracht are back in front with a goal coming from a Betis error. Lindstrøm cuts back for Kamada who has the straightforward task of steering home. What a game !
GOAL ! 1-1
A bit too easy for Fekir, who cuts inside from the right and rolls a finish into the corner. No chance for Trapp there and we're level.
Sabali imitates Frankfurt magician
Sabali races down the right and tries a Kostic, aiming a cross-shot at Trapp's far post. No dice for the Betis man as that one flies off target.
Things heating up
Sow is the latest player to go into the book for upending Aitor Ruibal. The crowd roar their disapproval at the Eintracht man and things are getting caliente in Andalusia.
Yellow card for Fekir after a foul on Tuta. Unsurprisingly, the Betis man disagrees with that decision.
Kostic takes possession out on the left and has a look up to check his options in the middle. He scoops in a cross that drifts all the way towards the far post, past the despairing Claudio Bravo, and in !
Plenty of noiseThis first leg is being played out amid a wonderful atmosphere. Plenty of noise from both sets of fans while the action out on the pitch below is no less entertaining.
Oooh Lindström !
Eintracht nick possession and Kostic feeds Lindström who fires over the top. Nice from Die Adler.
Straight from a kick-out, Sergio Canales races through on goal but shoots tamely, allowing Trapp to gather easily. That was an early scare for the visitors.
Peeeep ! The ball is rolling on a beautiful evening in Andalusia.
Teams out ...
We're all set for kick-off at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville ! Settle in, we're predicting a cracker.
Europa League all the way
Interestingly enough, this is the only Round of 16 tie in which both teams started their respective 2021/22 European campaigns in the UEFA Europa League.
Frankfurt's fond memories
So, can Eintracht make a solid start to this tie and take a step towards reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup/Europa League for a sixth time? Lest we forget, The Eagles won this famous trophy back in 1980.
WATCH: HERTHA 1-4 FRANKFURTEintracht Frankfurt got back to winning ways at the weekend with a solid display in the German capital where goals from Ansgar Knauff, Tuta, Jesper Lindstrom and Rafael Borre helped to heap more misery on Hertha Berlin.
FRANKFURT TEAM NEWS
Perhaps unsurprisingly after beating Hertha 4-1 at the weekend, Oliver Glasner names the same side that started that game. Captain Sebastian Rode and Danny da Costa are also back in the squad after they missed the trip to Berlin.
BETIS TEAM NEWS
The hosts have made seven changes from the team beaten here 3-1 by Atletico Madrid on Sunday. The only players remaining are goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, right-back Youssouf Sabaly, holding midfielder William Carvalho and playmaker Nabil Fekir.
Grahl, Horz, Hrustic, Lammers, Rode, Toure, Hasebe, Chandler, Hauge, Da Costa, Lenz, Barkok
Trapp (c) - Tuta, Hinteregger, N'Dicka - Knauff, Sow, Jakic, Kostic - Lindstrom, Kamada - Borre
Robles, Silva, Bartra, Ruiz, Iglesias, Tello, Joaquin, Lainez, Rodri, Miranda
Bravo - Sabaly, Pezzella, Gonzalez, Ruibal - Rodriguez, Carvalho - Canales (c), Fekir, Juanmi - Jose
Glasner wary of "confident" Betis
Of his team's opponents this evening, Eintracht boss Glasner said, "[Betis] have shown how confident they are on the ball and they have a lot of experienced players in their squad." The tactician added, "We have a lot of respect [for them], but there's only one goal for us: we want to get to the quarter-finals."
Betis take the long road
For their part, Betis finished behind Bayer Leverkusen in their section before the La Liga side successfully got past Zenit St. Petersburg in a two-legged play-off to set up this evening's match-up.
The Eagles soar throughThere was no need for a play-off for Oliver Glasner's side to reach this stage of the competition, with Eintracht qualifying directly to the knockout rounds having topped Europa League Group D ahead of Olympiacos, Fenerbahce and Antwerp.
No pain in Spain for Eintracht
This evening's game at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville is the very first meeting between these teams in European competition while Frankfurt boast a solid record on Spanish soil, Die Adler never having lost in any of their three previous visits.
Welcome one and all !
You're very welcome along to our LIVE blog for what is set to be a mouthwatering UEFA Europa League Round of 16, first leg encounter between Real Betis and the Bundesliga's own, Eintracht Frankfurt.