WHEN the Europa League draw took place last month, West Ham fans circled Barcelona as their glamorous semi-final opponents.
But the Catalan giants were made to work tenaciously by their last eight opponents tonight.
More than 50,000 fans created an unbelievable atmosphere in Deutsche Bank Park for the second home game since the Bundesliga was sold out again.
Eintracht tried to raise the decibel levels even further as they attempted to reach Barca early.
But they could have fallen behind within three minutes, only for Kevin Trapp to tip a brilliant, long-range shot from Ferran Torres over the bar.
Djibril Sow subsequently missed a golden opportunity in the seventh minute for the hosts, firing Jesper Lindstrom’s cut-back wide when it looked easier to score.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Eintracht a little shock in the 17th minute, although Trapp was able to hammer his tight shot into the side netting.
Xavi suffered a setback midway through the first half when Gerard Pique had to be substituted off injured and the Spaniard was replaced by Clement Lenglet.
Eintracht were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute when Sergio Busquet’s fouled Rafael Borre in the penalty area.
However, after a lengthy VAR review, Busquets was awarded playing the ball and the decision was overturned.
Both teams went into the game at half-time level with 0:0, although Eintracht had the better game.
They didn’t have to wait long for the lead after the break.
When Eric Garcia’s header defense only reached the edge of the box in the 48th minute, Ansgar Knauff unleashed a sensational volley into the top corner and sent the home fans into dreamland.
Knauf, borrowed from Borussia DortmundHe was still playing in the third division for BVB’s reserves in January.
Xavi introduced Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele for Gavi and Adama Traore on the hour mark – and it didn’t take long for them to make an impact.
De Jong showed superb footwork to set Torres up for Barca’s equalizer just five minutes later – with Dembele also playing a role.
The Frenchman put the ball in de Jong’s feet, the Dutchman then exchanged quick passes with Torres before equalizing.Manchester City Star pushed past Trapp to make it 1-1.
Eintracht had to be reduced to ten men with twelve minutes to go, and central defender Tuta received a second yellow card after a late challenge against Pedri.
The home side didn’t lose all threat, however, and shortly after losing to Tuta, Evan Ndicka created some space in the penalty area with a sensational turn, although his resulting withdrawal eluded Eintracht substitute Almamy Toure.
Barca increased the pressure around 90am but Eintracht held out a respectable 1-1 draw that will keep the tie alive until next week’s second leg.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/18201126/eintracht-frankfurt-1-barcelona-1-torres-knauff/ Ferran Torres saves the Catalan giants in the Europa League after smashing Ansgar Knauff