Frankfurt sets up Europa League final vs. Rangers
Eintracht Frankfurt reached its first European final in 42 years by knocking West Ham out of the Europa League on Thursday, setting up a title game against Scottish club Rangers.
Frankfurt beat 10-man West Ham 1-0 at home to complete a 3-1 aggregate victory in the semifinals, while Rangers overturned a 1-0 deficit from the first leg by defeating RB Leipzig 3-1 at a raucous Ibrox Stadium in Glagow.
It is Frankfurt’s first European final since beating Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1980 in an all-German matchup in the UEFA Cup, the predecessor to the Europa League. Rangers will be playing its first European final since losing to Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Cup in 2008. The Scottish club is looking for a first European title in 50 years, after winning the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.
In the inaugural Europa Conference League, Jose Mourinho will have a chance to add another trophy to his collection after his Roma set up a final against Feyenoord in new third-tier competition.
Tammy Abraham scored the only goal as Roma beat Leicester 1-0 at home to advance 2-1 on aggregate. Feyenoord held Marseille to a 0-0 draw in France after winning the first leg 3-2.
Rangers roared into a 2-0 lead after just 24 minutes in front of a frenzied home crowd. James Tavernier met a cross from Ryan Kent at the far post in the 19th minute for the seventh goal in the competition, and Glen Kamara doubled the lead five minutes later by calmly slotting in a shot from the edge of the area.
Christopher Nkunku pulled Leipzig back level on aggregate with a goal in the second half, but John Lundstram then netted the decisive goal in the 81st minute, converting a rebound from close range.
Frankfurt’s progress was more straightforward after Aaron Cresswell was sent off for a last-man foul on Jens Petter Hauge in the 19th minute and Rafael Borre scored seven minutes later to give the team a two-goal cushion on aggregate. Cresswell was also shown a red card in the 1-1 home draw against Lyon in the quarterfinals. The defender was initially shown a yellow for his foul on Hauge but the referee changed it to a red after watching a replay on the pitchside monitor.
Trying to mount a comeback a man down, West Ham striker Michail Antonio looked too isolated up front while every attack opened space for Frankfurt’s counters.
Tomáš Souček came close to scoring for the visitors in the final seconds with a header off a corner that went just wide.
Frankfurt fans flooded the pitch to celebrate after the final whistle.
More than 30 arrests were made before the game after supporters of the two clubs clashed in several locations in Frankfurt, police said.
The final will be played at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium in Seville on May 18, with a place in next season’s Champions League also at stake.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Abraham opened the scoring by beating goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a powerful header off a corner 11 minutes into the game at Stadio Olimpico in Rome for his ninth goal in the competition.
For Mourinho, it was a meeting against his former apprentice, Leicester coach Brendan Rodgers, who was appointed to Chelsea’s academy staff during Mourinho’s first stint with the London club.
The final will give Mourinho a chance to win his first European trophy since claiming the 2017 Europa League with Manchester United. He has also won the Champions League twice.
Marseille’s chances of overturning its deficit against Feyenoord took a blow when playmaker Dimitry Payet limped off in the 33rd with an injury.
Feyenoord reached its first final since being runner-up in the 2002 UEFA Cup. The Dutch club won the European Cup in 1970.
The final is scheduled for May 25 in the capital of Albania, Tirana.
There were also violent clashes in France between Marseille and Feyenoord fans outside the Stade Velodrome stadium before the game.
One video showed a Marseille apparently unconscious on the ground as he was helped by fellow fans, another showed two groups charging at each other shortly before kickoff just outside the stadium.
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