Frankfurt take control against West Ham in Europa semi-final

Frankfurt take control against West Ham in Europa semi-final

Frankfurt take control against West Ham in Europa semi-final

Frankfurt midfielder Daichi Kamada. (Credits: AFP)


Eintracht Frankfurt took control of their Europa League semi-final against West Ham with a 2-1 win in the first leg on Thursday, thanks to Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada.

Oliver Glasner’s club went into the game at the London Stadium as underdogs against a West Ham side having their best season in years.

Ansgar Knauff, though, scored after only 49 seconds to give Frankfurt the perfect start.

Michail Antonio equalized with his first goal in 11 games, but Kamada won it in the second half with a close-range finish.

This season, Frankfurt has struggled in the Bundesliga at times, saving their finest efforts for Europe.


They had already surprised Barcelona in the quarter-finals, and this was yet another remarkable performance that put them in a strong position to face either RB Leipzig or Rangers in the final.

Frankfurt, whose lone major European championship came in the 1980 UEFA Cup, has a chance to seal the deal on May 5 when they host the second leg.

In the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals, West Ham defeated Frankfurt 4-3 on aggregate.

West Ham will have to put on an amazing escape act in Frankfurt if they are to reach their first major European final since then.

West Ham welcomed Kurt Zouma back from an ankle ailment in their first semi-final since the 2014 League Cup, after Moyes worried he might only have one fit centre-back due to injuries.

Despite the presence of Zouma, West Ham’s defence was breached in under a minute.


Rafael Borre was allowed far too much time and space on the edge of the box, and he took advantage of West Ham’s hesitation with ruthlessness.

Borre’s pinpoint cross arrowed toward the far post, where Knauff snuck past a sleeping Pablo Fornals and banged a powerful header past Alphonse Areola from close range.

It was the quickest goal ever scored in a Europa League semi-final, and West Ham were understandably stunned.

As passes went awry in their panic to get back into the tie, Moyes motioned to his men to calm down.

When Jarrod Bowen sprinted onto Fornals’ defence-splitting pass, he should have calmed West Ham’s concerns, but the winger was left frustrated after his low strike hit the post.

West Ham, undeterred by their poor start, began to exert pressure, and Antonio ensured that their efforts were rewarded with a 21st-minute equaliser.


Antonio pounced with a stretched volley from nearly on the line after Zouma rose highest to head Manuel Lanzini’s free-kick back across goal.

Just before halftime, Frankfurt squandered a wonderful chance to restore the lead when Knauff raced onto Borre’s through ball, only to see his initial effort stopped before skipping the follow-up over the bar.

It was a warning that West Ham ignored, and the Germans took advantage with a well-executed move 10 minutes into the second half.

Despite the hosts’ protests for offside, Kamada was on hand to tap the rebound into the empty net after a quick exchange of passes cut through the West Ham defenders.

Said Benrahma was introduced by Moyes in an attempt to energise his team, and the Algerian came close to equalising with a long-range curler that clipped the post.

Kamada almost exacted swift vengeance after being chopped down by Declan Rice moments earlier, scampering clear for a shot that hit the far post.


West Ham hit the woodwork for the third time in stoppage time after Bowen’s bicycle kick smashed into the bar.

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