Eintracht Frankfurt hosted Barcelona in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final on last Thursday night. After 90 minutes of well-balanced and entertaining attacking play from both sides, the game ended 1-1.
After a hard-fought 3-2 aggregate win against Real Betis in the previous round, Eintracht entered the first-leg clash with confidence. Barca defeated Galatasaray of Turkey in a similar tight match, winning 2-1 on aggregate to advance.
At the 40-minute mark, the referee gave Barcelona a scare when he penalized Sergio Busquets for tripping Kostic in the box.
After a VAR review, it was determined that the Spaniard had won the ball first, and the referee’s decision was overturned.
Towards the end of the first half, the German team remained composed and continued to burst past Barcelona’s defense. Their shots, however, were off target, and the teams headed into halftime tied at 0-0.
Eintracht started the second half strongly, taking the lead just minutes after the restart.
Ansgar Knauff used a soft touch to control the ball before slamming it into the goal. The spin took the ball away from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the top right corner, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
With some classic passing combinations to split opposition lines, Barca forced their way back into the tie. In the 66th minute, they were rewarded for their perseverance as Ferran Torres finished off a masterclass in passing moves to equalize.
Tuta earned his marching orders after committing a second bookable violation in the 77th minute, which made things interesting.
Eintracht continued to play with vigor and conviction despite being reduced to ten men. As full-time approached, they held a deep low-block and were successful in keeping their opponents at bay to keep the score at 1-1.
Barca will enter the second leg with a number of things to work on in order to win the tie at home. They should benefit from playing in front of a raucous Camp Nou crowd.