All Chelsea needed to do to make it through to the Europa League final was keeping a clean sheet, thanks to their 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt’s home ground in the previous game. But a goalless draw was too drab an affair for two sides who have made their mark this season with offensive prowess directly linked to their coaches.
Both teams tried to make things interesting with their offensive incursions, with Chelsea having the edge in the quality of their chances and overall domination of midfield. Frankfurt did hit a few times, but those were not something that Kepa Arrizabalaga under our posts could not handle.
The hosts were bound to score, and scoring they did. Continuing his amazing form as of late, Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored for a second consecutive match to facilitate Chelsea’s life in the semifinal bout.
Frankfurt tried their best to answer with their oh-so-feared attacking duo, Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic, in the first-half. But Chelsea managed to hold their own against these attempts to break Kepa — last-ditch clearances included.
Then came the second-half, and the 45-60-minute syndrome struck again. A brilliant moment from Jovic levelled the scoreline for the Germans just a few minutes after their return to the pitch from half-time.
With their new-found hope, Frankfurt carried on the onslaught as Chelsea were simply unable to answer properly with any of their offensive options. We did manage to keep our opponents from scoring again, thus taking the match to extra-time.
Beyond the initial 90 minutes, Frankfurt kept besting Chelsea on the pitch. Key clearances off the line by David Luiz and Davide Zappacosta were what kept the Blues alive in the chase for a spot in the final.
In penalties, the best team prevailed. Praise be Kepa!
BAKU, HERE WE COME!
- Mateo Kovacic gets to start in place of injured N’Golo Kanté in midfield. Willian over Pedro, and Olivier Giroud over Gonzalo Higuaín in attack.
- That was RLC’s fourth goal in Europa, and his tenth overall this season. Boy’s on fire!
- Jovic scores in a brilliant play, just to show why so many clubs — including ourselves! — are interested in him.
- Subs are Pedro in place of Willian, Zappacosta for (injured) Andreas Christensen, Ross Barkley filling in for Loftus-Cheek and Higuaín substituting Giroud.
- Next up: Leicester away in Premier League’s last matchday.