Pedro scored an away goal as Chelsea recovered from an early setback against Eintracht Frankfurt to set up an exciting Europa League semi-final return...
Pedro

Pedro scored an away goal as Chelsea recovered from an early setback against Eintracht Frankfurt to set up an exciting Europa League semi-final return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Eintracht took the lead through their top scorer Luka Jovic, who superbly steered in Filip Kostic’s ball.

The Blues, who started with Eden Hazard on the bench, equalised when Pedro thrashed home just before half-time.

David Luiz also went close when his dipping free-kick came off the bar.

The draw means that Chelsea become the first team to go 16 successive Europa League matches without defeat, breaking the record set by Atletico Madrid from 2011 to 2012. They will have the chance to make it 17 in next Thursday’s second leg.

Did leaving Hazard on the bench pay off?

Eden Hazard

There was a great deal of surprise when the Chelsea team-sheet showed Hazard’s name among the substitutes.

Manager Maurizio Sarri told BT Sport that he rested his 19-goal forward because of fixture congestion, with the Belgian having played 10 matches in a row. So it was a penny for Hazard’s thoughts when he was shown watching his team struggle and a goal down after 23 minutes.

However, Sarri did not rush on his key attacker and instead kept faith with what he had on the pitch, and was repaid with an excellent display thereafter.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, brought back into the XI, led the fightback. After Pedro went close with a strike that drifted past Kevin Trapp’s left-hand post, the England player kept the goalkeeper on his toes with a strike that also flirted with the woodwork.

The pair then combined for the goal. Eintracht’s defenders lost possession after dawdling on the ball in the area, and Loftus-Cheek carved out an opening for Pedro to do the rest.

The Blues midfielder went close twice more, first with an effort that swept over the bar and then with a stinging shot with the outside of his boot that tested Trapp.

Brazilian Luiz went even closer with an blockbuster of a free-kick that dipped wickedly and crashed off Trapp’s bar. Hazard, who came on in the 61st minute, then set up another opportunity for the defender, but this time he headed straight at the German keeper.

They should have won the game but will no doubt be content with how they began their ninth major European semi-final since the Roman Abramovich era began in 2003. A repeat display at Stamford Bridge should see them reach their sixth European final.

Eintracht tire after bright opening

Luka Jovic

Prior to kick-off, Eintracht supporters produced a spectacular display by holding up black and white cards in the team’s colours, while at one end a giant tifo covered the entire stand.

Coach Ade Hutter’s team lived up to the lavish introduction in the opening half hour, and underlined why they were unbeaten in 11 home games in the competition.

Key to their success so far has been the forward combination of Kostic and 21-year-old Serb Jovic, who is likely to be courted by several top European sides in the close season.

Jovic has been in outstanding form this season, during which he made his move from Benfica permanent, and gave Bundesliga’s fourth-placed side the lead with a deft header from Kostic’s delivery.

However, as Chelsea grew into the match, his team-mates appeared to lose their way. Eintracht’s only clear-cut chance after the break fell to captain and defender David Abraham, who headed over from eight yards.

Line-ups

Frankfurt

  • 31Trapp
  • 19Abraham
  • 13Hinteregger
  • 3Falette
  • 24da Costa
  • 5FernandesBooked at 61minsSubstituted forMendes Paciênciaat 73′minutes
  • 20HasebeBooked at 58mins
  • 17Rode
  • 10Kostic
  • 11GacinovicSubstituted forWillemsat 90+2′minutes
  • 8Jovic

Substitutes

  • 1Rönnow
  • 2Ndicka
  • 6de Guzmán
  • 15Willems
  • 16Torró
  • 22Chandler
  • 39Mendes Paciência

Chelsea

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 27ChristensenBooked at 19mins
  • 30David Luiz
  • 33Emerson
  • 7Kanté
  • 5Jorginho
  • 12Loftus-CheekSubstituted forKovacicat 83′minutes
  • 11Pedro
  • 18Giroud
  • 22WillianSubstituted forE Hazardat 61′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Alonso
  • 8Barkley
  • 9Higuaín
  • 10E Hazard
  • 13Caballero
  • 17Kovacic
  • 21Zappacosta
Referee:Carlos del Cerro Grande

 

Match Stats

Home TeamFrankfurtAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home33%
Away67%
Shots
Home6
Away16
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home4
Away11
Fouls
Home16
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Eintracht Frankfurt 1, Chelsea 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Eintracht Frankfurt 1, Chelsea 1.

Offside, Chelsea. Kepa Arrizabalaga tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Eintracht Frankfurt. Jetro Willems replaces Mijat Gacinovic.

Foul by Olivier Giroud (Chelsea).

Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mijat Gacinovic (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Foul by Pedro (Chelsea).

Luka Jovic (Eintracht Frankfurt) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danny da Costa (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Attempt blocked. Gonçalo Paciência (Eintracht Frankfurt) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. David Abraham (Eintracht Frankfurt) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Sebastian Rode with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Eintracht Frankfurt. Conceded by Jorginho.

Hand ball by N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea).

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Mateo Kovacic replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Offside, Eintracht Frankfurt. Danny da Costa tries a through ball, but Gonçalo Paciência is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Emerson (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andreas Christensen with a headed pass.

Corner, Eintracht Frankfurt. Conceded by Andreas Christensen.

Attempt saved. David Luiz (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a cross.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Martin Hinteregger.

Attempt blocked. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by N’Golo Kanté.

Substitution

Substitution, Eintracht Frankfurt. Gonçalo Paciência replaces Gelson Fernandes.

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Makoto Hasebe.

Hand ball by Mijat Gacinovic (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Martin Hinteregger.

Attempt blocked. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jorginho.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Eden Hazard replaces Willian.

Booking

Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published.