Eintracht Frankfurt defeated West Ham 3-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, crushing the Hammers’ European dream.
Eintracht Frankfurt defeated ten-man West Ham United 1-0 in their Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday night to secure a 3-1 aggregate victory and book their place in a European final for the first time in 42 years.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in London, the already daunting task was made nearly impossible when Aaron Cresswell was sent off for denying last man Jens Petter Hauge a goalscoring opportunity inside the opening 20 minutes.
It took a VAR review and an on-field check for the referee to revise his original decision of simply a yellow card. But Cresswell, who happened to be on the wrong side of the Frankfurt attacker, was duly sent for an early shower. The game’s defining moment arrived in the 25th minute, when Rafael Santos Borre put Frankfurt two up on aggregate, hammering home Ansgar Knauff’s low cross and leaving the toothless visitors shell-shocked.
West Ham had half chances for both Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen, albeit nothing concrete, and their finest chance came a minute before half-time when Kurt Zouma’s close-range attempt was cleared off the line. Things went from bad to worse when West Ham manager David Moyes was also sent off for booting the ball against a ball boy, who was trying to waste time.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) May 5, 2022
Frankfurt, who are still undefeated in the Europa League, comfortably held on to their lead to set up a showdown in Seville with Scottish giants Rangers after Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men got the better of RB Leipzig.
The final whistle triggered scenes of joy and celebration as hundreds of Frankfurt fans flooded onto the pitch, prompting police to intervene to keep the situation orderly. Meanwhile, West Ham put all of their eggs in the Europa League basket as a route to the Champions League. But they will now need to recapture their early season form if they are to finish the season on a high note.
Alphonse Areola: 5/10
Areola could not have done anything to stop Eintracht Frankfurt’s winner as his defenders let him down by leaving him exposed. Otherwise, the PSG loanee was solid between the sticks and was rarely tested despite Frankfurt having a man advantage.
Vladimir Coufal: 6/10
Coufal did nothing wrong, but he was unable to provide the attacking threat down his flank as effectively as he would have liked. The ever-lively Kostic presented a tough challenge on the evening, but the Czech defender remained glued to the hosts’ gifted wide-man while out of possession, doing well to keep him quiet. He also won most of his duels and worked his socks off.
Craig Dawson: 6/10
So often the leader of the West Ham backline, Dawson appeared bewildered in the wake of the red card, losing track of Borre completely for the opening strike. Otherwise, he was solid at the back and posed an aerial threat at the other end of the pitch, sending a feeble header on target.
Kurt Zouma: 4/10
In the first half, Zouma was occasionally dragged out of position and left Aaron Cresswell on his own by stepping out of defence and leaving the open space that led to the red card before he also failed to pick up Borre for the opener. He defended stoically thereafter and looked assured after the break. The Frenchman also had an effort cleared off the line from Bowen’s cross.
Aaron Cresswell: 2/10
Cresswell made a huge mistake when he found himself isolated against Hauge on the edge of the box and should not have brought him down in a cynical fashion. He was always going to be shown a straight red with no defenders around to cover him, leaving his team with a mountain to climb for the rest of the game. The Englishman has now been sent off in two of his last three European outings, which is completely unacceptable for a defender with his experience.
Tomas Soucek: 5/10
It was a lacklustre performance from Soucek as he quite often passed straight to the opposition. As expected, he was very dominant in the air, winning a match-high eight aerial duels. But despite mostly providing a reassuring presence, he struggled to have any sort of positive impact on proceedings and lost the midfield battle as he was far too easily bypassed once West Ham were down to ten men.
Declan Rice: 6/10
“It’s heartbreaking. There’s something special about West Ham fans. How much they care about you, how they treat you. I’m proud to play in front of them. It’s not meant to be, but a big thank you for your support.”
An emotional Declan Rice at full-time: pic.twitter.com/lsRHyouJ0A
— West Ham United (@WestHam) May 5, 2022
Rice did not do much in the opening 45 minutes, as Eintracht Frankfurt dominated the exchanges in the middle of the park. He was booked for dissent, and he looked frustrated and exhausted with the situation collapsing around him.
That said, the West Ham skipper improved after the break and was very instrumental in the playmaking role. He was brilliant defensively with five interceptions and did everything he could to drive the visitors forward, although it was ultimately futile. A disappointing climax to what may be Rice’s final European campaign with West Ham.
Manuel Lanzini: 5/10
Lanzini barely had a kick before being sacrificed on the 20-minute mark following Cresswell’s dismissal, as David Moyes was forced to reshuffle his pack to provide apt defensive cover.
Jarrod Bowen: 7/10
Bowen looked the sharpest early on and threatened with a couple of mazy dribbles, blistering energy and drive. He put in a delightful free-kick late in the first half that was almost turned in by Zouma to give a ray of hope. That said, Bowen could not get on the ball as much in the second half and was largely kept in check on a difficult evening for all of the West Ham attackers.
Michail Antonio: 8/10
More isolated than ever, Antonio was West Ham’s best performer on the night and fared admirably in the circumstances. The Jamaican international ran himself into the ground, held the ball up well, and produced some moments of genuine threat.
— Jaja (@Jaja_Bred) May 5, 2022
His physicality and pace asked a lot of questions from a rather untroubled Frankfurt backline, especially in one-on-one battles. Antonio looked capable of creating something out of nothing when running down the flanks and sending in teasing crosses into the box but to no avail. In truth, he could not have done much better with such minimal service and would have fancied an 11v11.
Pablo Fornals: 5/10
Fornals worked tirelessly and was constantly running. But he understandably struggled to have a huge amount of influence on the proceedings after being shunted wider than normal on the left side of a four. The Spaniard combined well with Bowen and Antonio a couple of times but could not provide the spark to make a telling contribution until being replaced.
Ben Johnson: 6/10
Thrown into the deep end, Johnson appeared shaky, but he grew into the game and coped very well with the threat posed by Knauff. He even looked like a threat when he decided to foray forwards.
Said Benrahma: 5/10
After coming off the bench late in the game, Benrahma was lively but ultimately failed to make the desired impact and fed off scraps.
Andriy Yarmolenko: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.