the dream of the barcelona cutlery this season has ended and in an impressive way. on thursday, eintracht frankfurt went to the camp nou and won a shocking and monumental victory, defeating barça 3-2 in the second leg of the europa league quarterfinals. The surprise victory for the visitors broke Barça’s run of 15 games without losing. the Catalan giants hadn’t lost in almost three months and in the end, the German club won the tie on aggregate, 4-3.
a penalty kick in the fourth minute proved to be the difference with eric garcia’s silly foul on jesper lindstrom. Filip Kostic would finish it off, and would score again in the 67th minute to make it 3-0.
but it was the 2-0 goal that stole the show. colombian rafael santos borre drilled a shot from about 35 yards for what could be the goal of the tournament, honoring fellow cafatero freddy rincon with a tribute after the goal. Rincon, 55, died overnight after injuries he sustained in a car accident in Colombia on Monday.
eintracht frankfurt’s victory sends them into the final four where they will face west ham for a place in the final. Barça received a late consolation goal from Sergio Busquets with the equalizer already decided before earning another via a Memphis Depay penalty in the dying seconds.
here are three takeaways from the match:
1. eintracht took over and didn’t look back
The German club deserves high praise for what they have just achieved. they beat barça something that real madrid, napoli and others have not achieved since the beginning of the year. and they did it with an impressive and effective game plan. Sure, it was helped by the early goal, but with just over 25 per cent of possession, they still managed to produce five more shots than Barca. They only allowed Barca’s starting eleven to register three shots on goal and they defended very well, keeping form and helping each other as Barca tried to infiltrate the box. the score will be misleading because I never felt, at least for me, that a comeback was coming. when the added minutes sign appeared it was 3-0 and therefore one-sided.
eintracht took advantage of the opportunities it created, took advantage of the goal that barça gave them and never looked back. an amazing day for the club.
2. eric garcia’s mistake set the tone
ooh, eric. what was that? His early foul on Jesper Lindstrom changed this game. he was everywhere with the man from eintracht, and of course, that happens in many games and it is not called. but it should be, and this time it was. he was within sight of the referee, he was quick to call him out, and it was a horrible defense by a talented young player. His surprised face showed that he thought he could get away with that level of physique, but not on this day. that was where the life of the europa league of barça began to fall apart.
3. too much to ask after digging a hole
after a wild comeback in the Levante last weekend in the league, it was unlikely he would do it again here. At 1-0, of course, there was a chance, but until then and much later, Barça rarely looked like a threat. the goal to make it 2-0 also came at a time when barça didn’t seem like much of a threat. they couldn’t break a compact defense that reacted well, especially on balls played down the middle, and never really had a chance once the hour came. It was all careless, and now Barça have received four penalties in their last two games.