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Barcelona out of Europa League as Frankfurt demolishes 2-3 away from home – Match Review



Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

The greatest European games come at times where one least expects it. A cracker of a clash unfolded at Camp Nou on Thursday night as Barcelona took on Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinals.

A sold-out stadium signed up to see Barcelona dominate their opposition for ninety long minutes. What transpired was quite the opposite.

Xavi made some big decisions in his starting lineup that few saw coming. Oscar Mingueza started at right-back, enabling the manager to deploy Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia in central defence.

Moreover, Frenkie de Jong started on the bench with Pedri-Busquets-Gavi forming the midfield trio.

The game got off to a dream start for the Germans. In just the second minute, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Eric Garcia brought down Lindstrom in the Barcelona box. Filip Kostic stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Ter Stegen the wrong way to put his side in the lead.

Barcelona pressed for an equaliser, but their play looked lethargic and sloppy. Meanwhile, Frankfurt played as if their life depended on it. Their high pressure forced the Blaugrana players into mistakes and the Germans frequently threatened them on the counter.

In the 36th minute, Rafael Borre scored what could be the goal of the tournament. The Colombian fired a rocket from well outside the area right into the top corner of Ter Stegen’s netting, sending Camp Nou into an eerie silence.

As the two teams walked into the tunnel at half-time, the score was firmly in favour of the visitors. Xavi’s men had struggled to contain their opponents’ counters and Pedri’s injury did not help their case.

Frenkie de Jong and Sergino Dest replaced Pedri and Mingueza at half-time.

The Catalans came out fresh in the second period looking for solutions. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had the goal at his mercy but put his shot wide of the post minutes after the restart of play. Soon after, the Gabonese striker was once again denied in the 56th minute by an alert Kevin Trapp.

Eintracht Frankfurt made it 4-1 on aggregate in the 67th minute when Filip Kostic scored his second goal of the night. The movement stemmed from a throw-in, to which the hosts failed to react in time.

Despite going three goals down, there seemed to be no desire to win from Barcelona’s side. Whether it was complacency or a lack of confidence is a conversation for another day. However, on the field were eleven players in garnet-and-blue struggling to keep the ball away from their opponents.

Every move from Frankfurt seemed close to being the fourth. At the same time, every Catalan attack fizzled out in the final third.

With six minutes to go, Barcelona seemed to have pulled one back. Sergio Busquets got onto the end of the ball after a series of ricochets and put it in the back of the net. VAR had other ideas and denied the hosts of even their lone source of consolation.

The captain did eventually find the back of the net minutes later when he slammed the ball past Kevin Trapp from outside the area. Two more goals were needed, but there was not enough time on the clock for a comeback.

Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka was booked in the 95th minute for wasting time and saw his second yellow card. The visitors were down to ten men with seconds to go.

Depay pulled back a late goal for his team from the penalty spot, but it came a little too late for the hosts.

With this loss, Barcelona are eliminated from the Europa League and will go trophyless this season. It remains to be seen how the team recover from humiliation of this magnitude.

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