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Eintracht Frankfurt loses its Conference League lead in Belgium

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Eintracht Frankfurt loses its Conference League lead in Belgium

After an optimal start, Eintracht Frankfurt carelessly lost a better starting position in the fight for a place in the round of 16 of the Conference League. The Hessian Bundesliga club only managed a 2-2 (2-1) draw in the first leg of the playoff against Belgian top club Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday despite an early two-goal lead and faces a tricky task in the second leg in a week’s time.

Farès Chaibi in the 3rd minute and Sasa Kalajdzic (10th) made Eintracht celebrate twice in the opening phase, but Mathias Rasmussen (31st) and Gustaf Nilsson (68th) tore the Hessians, who were weak in the second half, out of their dreams of victory. After a yellow-red card for Charles Vanhoutte (78th), the home team ended the game outnumbered.

Eintracht coach Dino Toppmöller declared “fight mode” before the game. However, his protégés only took this instruction to heart in the first half hour, when they dominated the game and were rewarded with two goals. After less than 150 seconds, Chaibi scored from close range after a shot from Kalajdzic had been blocked. Niels Nkounkou had previously prepared exemplary.

Better opportunities for Frankfurt

And it got even better. Just a few minutes later, Kalajdzic, who was absent from last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against VfL Bochum due to the birth of his child, carefully completed a pleasant counterattack via Omar Marmoush and Chaibi. It was the first goal for the Austrian, who came on loan from English Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers in the winter.

With a clear lead behind them, Frankfurt initially controlled the game and skillfully kept the hosts away from their own goal. Only a header from Nilsson, which narrowly missed the target, was initially in danger. Eintracht Frankfurt still had the better chances. Chaibi failed with a long-range shot past former Eintracht goalkeeper Heinz Lindner, and a little later Kalajdzic missed from a promising position.

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But then Ellyes Skhiri blacked out and brought the Belgians back into the game. Rasmussen took advantage of a serious mistake by the Frankfurt defensive player, who missed the ball in his own penalty area, to connect. The goal had an impact on the guests, who were no longer so dominant and were increasingly having problems defensively.

This continued after the change. Saint-Gilloise created a few chances against a heavily weakening Hessian team. Nilsson missed twice, first heading the ball well over the goal from five meters and a short time later his shot from eleven meters was missed by Trapp.

However, the Swede, who used to play for SV Wehen Wiesbaden in the 3rd league, did better in the third attempt. After a pass to the front, the striker maneuvered the ball past the rushing Trapp into the net and rewarded the hosts for their tireless effort.

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