Chelsea have earned the advantage in their Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt following a 1-1 draw in Germany on Thursday evening.
Frankfurt hitman Luka Jovic opened the scoring with a fantastic header in the 23rd minute for his 26th goal of the season. The Blues though were level on the stroke of half-time as Pedro hit what could potentially be a crucial goal for Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri in the context of their season.
Jovic on the scoresheet again
It was the hosts who probably had the best chance of the opening stages as a free-kick fell to David Abraham at the back post but he blazed the ball over the crossbar with plenty of time.
The Germans did eventually take the lead though and it was predictably Jovic at the forefront once again. The striker released his countryman Filip Kostic down the left-flank. The winger whipped the ball back into the striker and he stooped low with a great diving header to finish well into the far corner.
Pedro steps up in Germany
Pedro could have equalised but fizzed a low effort just wide of the post with Trapp stretching. The Spaniard was to be on the scoresheet however as Chelsea built momentum going into the break. Ruben Loftus-Cheek did well to manufacture space in the Frankfurt box and tee up the former Barcelona man. He then lashed the ball home with a powerful finish to ensure the Blues headed into the break level.
The equaliser did Chelsea a lot of favours as they resumed the second-half very well. Loftus-Cheekat first fired wide before Willian fired straight at Trapp. The German stopper then did brilliantly as he tipped a thunderous David Luiz free-kick onto the crossbar. The Brazilian defender also forced a stop out of the keeper with a stooping header as Chelsea looked to go ahead for the first time in the game.
Late chances for both sides
Despite the Blues’ dominance in the second period, the hosts could well have nicked the win right at the end. Abraham somehow headed the ball over the bar from a corner before Luiz put in an excellent block to deny Gonçalo Paciência when through on goal.
As it happened though, neither side were able to edge ahead as both sides turn their attentions to next week’s deciding match-up in West London.
The match itself really was an intriguing watch. The momentum continued to swing from one team to the other throughout the 90 minutes and it was relatively tough to call who was going to be the victors. Frankfurt tired though and Chelsea will be the more satisfied with the result as they head back to Stamford Bridge with a vital away goal.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp (7); Falette (6), Hinteregger (7), Hasebe (7), Abraham (7), da Costa (6); Rode (7), Fernandes (6) (Paciencia (6), 73′); Kostic (8), Jovic (8), Gacinovic (6) (Willems (N/A), 90+2′).
Chelsea: Kepa (6); Emerson (6), Christensen (6), Luiz (7), Azpilicueta (7); Loftus-Cheek (7) (Kovacic (N/A), 83′), Jorginho (6), Kante (7); Willian (6) (Hazard (6), 61′), Giroud (6), Pedro (7).
Goals: Jovic (23′), Pedro (45′)
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
Yellow Cards: Christensen (20′), Hasebe (58′), Fernandes (61′)
Red Cards: N/A
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