Rangers, Frankfurt head to Europa League final as Leipzig and West Ham fall short



Rangers, Frankfurt head to Europa League final as Leipzig and West Ham fall short

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Rangers produced one of their greatest European performances to beat RB Leipzig 3-1 on Thursday to reach the Europa League final 3-2 on aggregate, while Eintracht Frankfurt reached their first European final for 42 years after a 1-0 home win on Thursday over 10-man West Ham.

James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the tie around inside the first 24 minutes at an emotionally charged Ibrox as players and fans united to pay tribute to long-serving kitman Jimmy Bell, who died on Tuesday.

Christopher Nkunku hit back for Leipzig in the second half, but John Lundstram scored the winner nine minutes from time.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men will face Eintracht Frankfurt in the final in Seville on May 18 in just their second European final in 50 years.

The Scottish champions lost to Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Cup final of 2008, but have had to start again from the fourth tier following a financial collapse in 2012.

Last season they ended Celtic’s run of nine league titles in a row and will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2010 with victory over Frankfurt at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 13 days’ time.

Leipzig’s 1-0 advantage from the first leg was blown away early on in front of a cacophonous noise.

Right-back Tavernier moved outright as the top scorer in the competition with seven goals, all of which have come in the knockout phase, when he timed his run to perfection to turn in Ryan Kent’s cross.

Kamara then guided a wonderful finish low into the far corner from outside the box and kissed his black armband in tribute to Bell.

Joe Aribo should have made it three within half an hour when he missed his kick from point-blank range.

Leipzig lost just once in 19 games between January and April, but have now been beaten in three of their last four to put their chances of Champions League football next season hanging in the balance.

The Germans enjoyed the majority of the ball in the second half and were back on level terms in the tie when Nkunku steered home his 32nd goal of the season from Angelino’s cross.

Rangers then had to dig deep just to keep Leipzig at bay, but they found the winner late on.

Kent’s cross to the back post caused panic in the Leipzig defence and the loose ball broke to Lundstram to stroke into an unguarded net and spark wild scenes of celebration.

‘Dream finally comes true’ for Frankfurt

In Frankfurt, home team Eintracht reached their first European final in four decades after their goal over West Ham sealed a 3-1 aggregate victory.

West Ham had left-back Aaron Cresswell sent off early on and Hammers manager David Moyes was also dismissed from the sidelines with 12 minutes left for arguing with the referee.

“A sending off is always going to make it a mountain to climb, we had genuine belief that over two legs they weren’t going to beat us,” said West Ham captain Declan Rice.

“We just played a team that played a similar way to us and it caught us out. We’re gutted.”

Colombia striker Rafael Borre netted the first-half winner on the night to book Frankfurt a place in the Europa League final on May 18 in Seville against Scottish giants Rangers.

“A dream has finally comes true,” said Eintracht club president Peter Fischer.

“This city deserves it. And now we’re going to win this thing.”

Borre scored just after Cresswell was sent off, leaving the visitors a man down for more than an hour and needing to score twice just to force extra time.

Frankfurt had been dealt an early blow when key defender Martin Hinteregger limped off with a leg injury.

When a long ball put Frankfurt’s Jens Hauge into space, Cresswell pulled back the Norwegian, who went down just outside the area.

Cresswell, who was also sent off in the quarter-final first leg against Lyon, was initially only booked, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano brandished the red card after a VAR review.

Moyes responded by swapping Ben Johnson for forward Manuel Lanzini.

Yet Frankfurt went ahead in the 26th minute.

When the hosts attacked down the right flank, Ansgar Knauff’s cross found Borre, who fired home unmarked in the area.

Dogged defending in the second half restricted Frankfurt to just a handful of chances for Knauff and Filip Kostic, who caused havoc on the left.

West Ham had chances of their own and as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, Manzano banished Moyes to the stands after the Scot lost his temper.

Frankfurt, who lost to Chelsea on penalties in the 2019 Europa League semi-finals, are into their first European final since winning the UEFA Cup in 1979/80.

“That was an evening you never forget,” beamed Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner. “The squad was exceptional.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


Kaynak : https://www.france24.com/en/sport/20220505-rangers-frankfurt-head-to-europa-league-final-as-west-ham-and-leipzig-fall-short

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