Inter 0 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (0-1 agg): Jovic sends Nerazzurri crashing out

By Sports Desk March 14, 2019

Inter's Europa League campaign came to a lacklustre end as Luka Jovic's early strike secured Eintracht Frankfurt's progression into the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win.

Kevin Trapp had been Frankfurt's hero with his penalty save in the goalless first leg and, without a recognised striker to call on, Luciano Spalletti's Inter side were toothless throughout Thursday's meeting.

Jovic showed Inter – still without Mauro Icardi, who has not played since being stripped of the captaincy in mid-February – what they were missing with a composed finish that paved the way for a dominant Frankfurt display at San Siro.

Sebastien Haller hit the woodwork prior to Jovic's strike and Frankfurt would have had more if not for fine work from Samir Handanovic and Milan Skriniar as Inter, who face AC Milan in a huge Serie A clash on Sunday, went out with a whimper.

Any doubts over Frankfurt's approach to the contest were put aside after four minutes – Haller hitting the crossbar after Handanovic had kept out Mijat Gacinovic's effort.

Inter failed to heed that warning, though, and Frankfurt had the lead a minute later when Jovic capitalised on Stefan de Vrij's misjudgement and lofted a delicate finish over Handanovic.

Haller looked to have made it 2-0 before the half hour, but the offside flag came to Inter's rescue before the striker and Gacinovic were denied in the same move by Handanovic's superb double save.

Jovic could have doubled his tally after the restart, only to slip at the vital moment, while Skriniar made a crucial challenge to deny Gacinovic a free shot at goal.

But, despite Jovic heading straight at Handanovic late on, Frankfurt were not made to pay for their profligacy, speculative efforts from Antonio Candreva and Skriniar the most Inter could muster as their European hopes were limply extinguished.

 

What does it mean? Frankfurt flying Germany's flag in Europe

With Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich having crashed out of the Champions League, Frankfurt are now the Bundesliga's sole representatives in Europe, and will rightly harbour hopes of going all the way.

Inter, meanwhile, must now focus on securing Champions League qualification via a top-four finish in Serie A, but their task continues to be overshadowed by doubts over Icardi's future.

Jovic back on the goal trail

Considering his exploits this season, three games without a goal represented a dip in form for Jovic, but the 21-year-old – who has 15 Bundesliga goals this term –  ended his mini draught in typically clinical fashion.

Keita toils in Icardi, Martinez absences

With Icardi not available and Lautaro Martinez suspended, Keita Balde Diao deputised up top for Inter, but despite offering pace and guile, he lacked the nous and positional sense to really test Frankfurt's line.

What's next?

It is the Milan derby up next for Inter, who are currently a point behind their city rivals in Serie A as both clubs aim to secure Champions League qualification. Frankfurt, meanwhile, take on Nurnberg as they push for a top-four Bundesliga finish.

Related items

  • Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann at Barcelona Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann at Barcelona

    Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic said he would "love" to play alongside Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann at Camp Nou.

    Griezmann has announced his plan to leave Atletico after five years, with LaLiga champions Barca emerging as the favourites to sign the French World Cup-winning forward.

    The 28-year-old turned down a move to Barca last year but Rakitic would relish the opportunity to team up with Griezmann.

    "He is a top-level player, [among] the best in the world, and of course I would love to have Griezmann on my team," Rakitic told Mundo Deportivo.

    "He is a great professional who has won almost everything and that surely can add to any team."

    Rakitic's future is also uncertain amid links with Serie A side Inter and Premier League giants Manchester United.

    The 31-year-old has won four LaLiga titles – including back-to-back – and the Champions League since arriving from fellow Spanish side Sevilla in 2014.

    But, with Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong set to join in 2019-20, Barca are reportedly open to selling Croatia international Rakitic.

    Rakitic, however, dismissed the speculation by saying: "I cannot explain where this information comes from.

    "I have great respect for all the teams, and Inter is a very important club that I faced this year in the Champions League.

    "Some of my national team team-mates play for them, but I am right now where I want to be. If they are thinking of me, it is because my performances are positive, but I am happy at Barcelona. My family is also very well and I have no other thoughts."

  • Socceroos include six debutants for South Korea friendly Socceroos include six debutants for South Korea friendly

    Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has included six debutants in his experimental Australia squad to face South Korea in next month's international friendly.

    A-League trio Andrew Redmayne, Brandon O'Neill and Lawrence Thomas, England-based pair Harry Souttar and Ryan Williams and Freiburg forward Brandon Borrello are in line to earn their first caps in Busan on June 7.

    Arnold has rested Australia's big names for the trip to South Korea, with the Socceroos set to play for the first time since their AFC Asian Cup quarter-final exit in January.

    The 24-man squad includes 11 A-League-based players, including Matthew Spiranovic, Craig Goodwin and Dimitri Petratos, while former Liverpool left-back Brad Smith – on loan at Seattle Sounders from Bournemouth – returns to the national fold for the first time since October 2017.

    Ryan Williams and brother Rhys are the first siblings to be named in the same Socceroos squad since Adam and Joel Griffiths in May 2008.

    "Our World Cup qualification campaign preparations start now," Arnold said. "The upcoming camp and friendly international in Korea Republic provides us the opportunity to expose more players to international football, which is vital as we prepare for a long qualification campaign.

    "We have seen how arduous the previous World Cup path was for our squad and it is imperative that we spend this valuable time together to have a close look and some of our next generation.

    "We have eleven players in this squad who have all had excellent seasons in the domestic competition and my message to those playing in the Hyundai A-League is that if you are playing regularly and consistently for your club, you will come into consideration for the next phase of World Cup qualifiers.

    "This international window also gives me the chance to spend an extended time with some of our more experienced players who have recently been missing from international football, but have been playing well for their respective clubs like Matthew Spiranovic, Rhys Williams, Adam Taggart, Bailey Wright, Josh Brillante and Brad Smith."

     

    Australia: Mitch Langerak (Nagoya Grampus), Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Lawrence Thomas (Melbourne Victory); Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Matthew Jurman (Al-Ittihad), Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders), Harry Souttar (Stoke City), Matthew Spiranovic (Perth Glory), Rhys Williams (Al-Qadsiah), Bailey Wright (Bristol City); Mustafa Amini (Aarhus), Terry Antonis (Melbourne Victory), Josh Brillante (Sydney FC), James Jeggo (Austria Vienna), Brandon O'Neill (Sydney FC), Ryan Williams (Rotherham United); Brandon Borrello (Freiburg), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United), Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory), Awer Mabil (Midtjylland), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Adam Taggart (Suwon Bluewings).

  • Jorginho: I'd be surprised if Sarri left Chelsea Jorginho: I'd be surprised if Sarri left Chelsea

    Jorginho said he would be surprised if Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri left the Premier League club amid links to Juventus.

    Sarri led Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League and the Europa League final in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

    However, a return to Serie A has been mooted for the former Napoli boss – who has emerged as a possible replacement for Massimiliano Allegri at Serie A holders Juve.

    Jorginho – who followed Sarri to Chelsea from Napoli – was asked if he would continue his relationship with the 60-year-old if he departed London and the Italy midfielder told Sky Sport Italia: "I have four years on my contract with Chelsea.

    "I'd be surprised he did leave, because we are third in the Premier League behind Manchester City and Liverpool, we're in the Europa League Final and reached the Carabao Cup Final.

    "It has been a positive season. Sarri is relaxed, even more so now than in other stages of the campaign."

    Sarri's Chelsea are set to face London rivals Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku on May 29.

    "It's an international final of a prestigious competition and we are working well to be ready for it," said Jorginho. "We must believe in our football and know that we can do it. There are great players here and we can bring the trophy home."

    Jorginho, who arrived in a reported £50million transfer at the start of the 2018-19 season, added: "It will be our 63rd competitive match of the season and obviously those start to weigh on you. I see this as a very positive campaign.

    "It's only natural that at a club like Chelsea, there is going to be all this pressure. There will always be criticism, but I remained calm and relaxed.

    "I'll always have something new to learn and I've seen consistent growth throughout the season."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.