Barcelona stunned by Frankfurt, West Ham and Rangers advance to Europa League semifinals
PARIS: Favorites Barcelona were dumped out of the Europa League by Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarterfinals on Thursday, while West Ham United and Rangers joined RB Leipzig in qualifying for the last four.
Serbian international Filip Kostic scored twice either side of a Rafael Santos Borre strike at the Camp Nou for Frankfurt, who survived a late fightback to win 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.
Sergio Busquets scored a late consolation before Memphis Depay’s even later penalty for Barcelona but Eintracht held on, to the delight of the estimated 30,000 German supporters who traveled for the game.
They go through to their second Europa League semifinal in four seasons, having lost on penalties to Chelsea at the same stage in 2019.
“I am speechless. Nobody expected this, if you are honest. Everyone expected us to suffer,” said Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
Barcelona’s recent revival under Xavi Hernandez has been remarkable but this defeat means they have won just once at home all season in Europe, and their campaign is now set to end without silverware.
“It’s a hammer blow for us. They deserved to go through,” admitted Xavi.
After conceding three penalties in their weekend win over Levante, Barca fell behind to another spot-kick inside four minutes against Eintracht, as Kostic converted after a foul by Eric Garcia to the delight of the enormous away support.
The visitors scored again in the 36th minute as Colombian forward Borre fired high into the net from range, and Kostic’s low finish into the far corner made it 3-0 midway through the second half.
Busquets had a late goal disallowed for offside before he found the net with a fantastic strike from 20 meters in the first minute of injury time.
The game carried on into an 11th added minute when Depay netted a penalty after Evan Ndicka was sent off, receiving a second caution for a foul on Luuk de Jong.
Yet Eintracht maintained their record of not having lost to Spanish opposition since the 1960 European Cup final against Real Madrid, and they will face West Ham in the semifinals.
The English side are through to their first European semifinal since losing the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup final to Anderlecht after they outclassed Lyon in France, winning 3-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.
The Hammers took the lead in the 38th minute of the return when Craig Dawson headed in a Pablo Fornals corner.
Captain Declan Rice slotted in their second just before the break, his sidefoot effort from the edge of the area beating Lyon goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck with the aid of a deflection.
The outcome was put beyond doubt when West Ham scored again three minutes after the restart as Fornals sent Jarrod Bowen away to make it 3-0.
“The journey in two years, we were talking about relegation, and now we’re talking about getting to the semifinal of a European tournament. It’s fabulous, and we’re all going to look forward to it,” said West Ham manager David Moyes.
There was drama in Glasgow as Rangers were taken to extra time by Braga before winning 3-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate as the Portuguese side finished the game with nine men.
James Tavernier gave Rangers a second-minute lead to level the tie on aggregate, and they had another goal disallowed and then hit the woodwork before winning a penalty just before the interval.
Vitor Tormena was sent off for a foul on Kemar Roofe, and Tavernier netted from the spot.
David Carmo’s 83rd-minute header took the tie to extra time, but Roofe’s 101st-minute finish put Rangers back in front on aggregate and Braga then had Iuri Medeiros dismissed.
Rangers will now face Leipzig in their first European semi-final since reaching the 2008 UEFA Cup final.
French international Christopher Nkunku scored both goals as Leipzig beat Atalanta 2-0 in Italy to win their last eight tie 3-1 on aggregate.
Nkunku opened the scoring in the 18th minute in Bergamo and then added a late penalty, his 30th goal of the season in all competitions.
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