Eintracht Frankfurt advance, Bayer Leverkusen crash out of UEFA Europa League
Berlin : Martin Hinteregger’s last-gasp equaliser helped Eintracht Frankfurt to a 1-1 draw after extra-time to advance into the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals after edging Real Betis 2-1 on aggregate, while Bayer Leverkusen were eliminated by Atalanta 1-0 (4-2 on aggregate) in the round of 16.Frankfurt started the clash on Thursday night knowing that Betis would need one goal for extra-time and at least two to progress into the next round.The hosts needed only 14 minutes to create the first clear-cut opportunity of the match, as Ansgar Knauff rattled the bar following a through-ball from Djibril Sow, Xinhua reports.Betis lacked in penetration and posed no threat for Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in the first 45 minutes, while Rafael Santos Borre’s shot from a promising position was ruled offside in closing stages of the first half.After the break, Frankfurt remained on the front foot and should have opened the scoring, but Filip Kostic’s free-kick hit the crossbar in the 63rd minute.
Betis almost shocked the Eagles against the flow of the match as Trapp had to tip Juan Miguel Jimenez Lopez’s dangerous header around the post two minutes later.It was a warning as the visitors from Spain stunned Frankfurt in the dying seconds after substitute Borja Iglesias finished off Nabil Fekir’s good build-up work, forcing the hosts into extra-time.Both sides were exhausted but Betis nearly doubled their advantage in the 109th minute when Borja Iglesias headed onto the bar.However, Frankfurt had the last laugh as Hinteregger deflected a free-kick cross with his right shoulder past Betis keeper Rui Silva in the last minute to score the winning goal.”We are relieved of course. What an unbelievable game we have seen. We conceded a very late goal and were shocked but we recovered in extra-time and fought back to book a place in the next round,” said Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner.Elsewhere, Atalanta also advance into the quarterfinals for the first time in the club’s history after Jeremie Boga’s last-gasp goal edged hosts Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 (4-2 on aggregate). Leverkusen played offensively minded but couldn’t finish its chances and overturn the 3-2 loss at Bergamo.
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