Chelsea 1 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (2-2 agg, 4-3 on penalties): Kepa the shoot-out hero in tense semi-final

By Sports Desk May 09, 2019

Kepa Arrizabalaga saved two spot-kicks as Chelsea squeezed into the Europa League final with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt after second leg of their semi-final tie finished 1-1.

The villain of the dramatic EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester City turned hero on Thursday, denying Martin Hinteregger and Goncalo Paciencia after Cesar Azpilicueta's saved attempt left the hosts with work to do.

David Luiz and Jorginho also made amends for their misses at Wembley and it was left to Eden Hazard, featuring in perhaps his final Stamford Bridge appearance, to stroke in the winner and send Maurizio Sarri's men into a date with Arsenal in Baku on May 29.

Luka Jovic earlier cancelled out Ruben Loftus-Cheek's first-half opener to force a 2-2 aggregate draw and additional 30 minutes, but the Bundesliga club fell short as Chelsea ensured a second all-English final in Europe's top competitions.

Sarri felt Chelsea should have had a penalty as early as the 11th minute following Danny da Costa's nudge on Loftus-Cheek.

The appeals went unheard and Da Costa almost rubbed salt into the wound with a rasping volley that Kepa tipped over the crossbar.

Loftus-Cheek had the last laugh, the midfielder gliding unnoticed onto Hazard's intelligent pass and finishing coolly across Kevin Trapp in the 28th minute.

Frankfurt had shouts for handball against Mateo Kovacic waved away after the restart but Jovic soon gave them reason to celebrate.

The striker chested the ball down to Mijat Gacinovic, raced in behind David Luiz to receive the return pass and clinically finished past Kepa.

Adi Hutter's men got on top after the equaliser and received another boost when Andreas Christensen limped to the bench, with Sarri preferring Davide Zappacosta to Gary Cahill as his replacement.

Extra time beckoned but first substitute Sebastien Haller saw two chances cleared off the line, first by David Luiz and then Zappacosta.

Azpilicueta wheeled away in celebration five minutes from the end but referee Ovidiu Hategan deemed the defender to have illegally knocked the ball out of goalkeeper Trapp's hands.

The captain's mood nosedived when the German then denied him with the fourth effort of the subsequent shoot-out, but Kepa came to his Spanish compatriot's rescue and Hazard fittingly booked the Blues' place in their second Europa League final in seven seasons.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: PSG willing to sell Neymar Rumour Has It: PSG willing to sell Neymar

    Neymar appears to be on thin ice at Paris Saint-Germain.

    PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi warned he will not tolerate any "celebrity behaviour" from players.

    And the Brazil star could be set to pay the price for his lavish ways in the French capital.



    If you can stump up €222million or more, Neymar could be yours.

    According to L'Equipe, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell their world-record signing.

    Neymar – who is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him out of Brazil's Copa America campaign – arrived from Barcelona for a world-record fee in 2017.

    And the 27-year-old continues to be linked with a return to LaLiga with former club Barcelona or their great rivals Real Madrid.



    - The Standard says Paul Pogba has been told he will not be sold by Manchester United, despite the Frenchman publicly stating his desire to seek a challenge elsewhere. Pogba has been linked to Real Madrid and a return to Juventus.

    - Juventus have not given up on signing in-demand Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, according to Tuttosport. PSG are believed to be favourites but Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved is set to meet with agent Mino Raiola.

    - Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal reportedly has an offer from the Chinese Super League, according to The arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax could spell the end of the Chilean's career at Camp Nou.

    - L'Equipe says Arsenal have moved closer to signing 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. The Teenager has reportedly agreed a five-year contract in London.

    - Ligue 1 side Lyon have opened talks to sign Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, according to L'Equipe. The Brazil international full-back's contract expires at the end of June and he has been linked to Barcelona.

    - With Maurizio Sarri confirmed as Juventus head coach, the Italian champions are set to target Inter outcast Mauro Icardi and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

  • Euro U21s Review: Italy beat Spain as Poland edge five-goal thriller Euro U21s Review: Italy beat Spain as Poland edge five-goal thriller

    Tournament hosts Italy beat much-fancied Spain 3-1 and Poland saw off Belgium 3-2 on the opening day of European Under-21 Championship action.

    A stunning strike from Dani Ceballos, named Player of the Tournament in 2017, gave Spain the lead nine minutes into the match in Bologna but Federico Chiesa scored a fine individual goal of his own to level up nine minutes before half-time.

    And it was the home team who pushed on in the second half, despite the loss of Nicolo Zaniolo to a facial injury, as Chiesa doubled his personal tally by blasting home from close range when a loose ball dropped into his path.

    VAR confirmed the goal and the technology was used in the final 10 minutes to award Italy a penalty for Carlos Soler's tug on Patrick Cutrone, with Lorenzo Pellegrini converting from the spot to leave Spain with work to do in their remaining two Group A matches.

    Poland are level with next opponents Italy on three points courtesy of their narrow win over Belgium in the earlier kick-off.

    Having only managed one point in their three games at the 2017 edition, it looked like being a familiar story for Poland when Aaron Leya Iseka – the younger brother of Michy Batshuayi – opened the scoring in Reggio Emilia with a deft touch.

    Czeslaw Michniewicz's Poland had offered little in the opening 25 minutes, but Szymon Zurkowski scored from range to set up an entertaining second half.

    A header from Krystian Bielik seven minutes into the second half was added to by Sebastian Szymanski to give Poland some breathing space and, despite Dion Cools ghosting in unmarked to pull one back, they held on for a first win in this tournament since 1986.

  • Albacete 1 Real Mallorca 0 (1-2 agg): Visitors set up play-off final with Deportivo Albacete 1 Real Mallorca 0 (1-2 agg): Visitors set up play-off final with Deportivo

    Real Mallorca will face Deportivo La Coruna in the Segunda play-off final after seeing off Albacete 2-1 on aggregate, despite Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Estadio Carlos Belmonte.

    Leo Suarez and Dani Rodriguez did the damage in the first leg for Vicente Moreno's men and, although Jeremie Bela made the tie interesting in Albacete, Mallorca just about did enough to cling on.

    Bela opened the scoring with 16 minutes on the clock with a fine free-kick from just outside the area, filling the hosts with belief.

    But they struggled to really control proceedings, as Mallorca offered plenty of attacking threat themselves.

    Albacete piled the pressure on in the final stages, with Roman Zozulya heading wide from close range, but their efforts came to nothing.

    Mallorca – who were only promoted from Segunda B last season – will face Deportivo at the Riazor in the first leg on Thursday, before hosting Jose Luis Marti's side at Son Moix three days later.

    Success over the two legs will see them return to the top flight for the first time since 2012-13.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.