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Europa League

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Chelsea were forced into extra-time after producing another 1-1 at Stamford Bridge, which meant 2-2 on aggregate in the Europa League’s semi-final.

The Blues opened the scoring thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whose goal was equalized through Luka Jovic (10 goals in the competition) a few minutes before the beginning of second half.

Eintracht Frankfurt went close to scoring the second even in the extra-time, but David Luiz and Davide Zappacosta were both crucial to deny with goal-line clearances.

A missed penalty from Azpilicueta was canceled out after both Hinteregger and Paciencia’s shots were denied by Kepa. Eden Hazard kept his cool from the spot to send Chelsea to Europa League final.

Maurizio Sarri’s men will face Arsenal in Baku on May 27th.

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Chelsea face Eintracht Frankfurt tonight at Stamford Bridge as the Blues try to reach the Europa League‘s final.

Here are the confirmed lineups.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Emerson, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Hazard, Giroud, Willian

Subs: Caballero, Alonso, Zappacosta, Cahill, Barkley, Higuain, Pedro

Eintracht Frankfurt: 

Trapp, Falette, Hinteregger, Abraham, Kostic, Rode, Hasebe, Da Costa, Rebic, Jovic, Gacinovic

Subs: Ronnow, Ndicka, Chandler, Fernandes, De Guzman, Haller, Paciencia

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is expected to be starting in Chelsea‘s XI which will take on Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge tonight.

The England international midfielder could replace N’Golo Kante after the Frenchman picked up an injury against Watford last time out.

The Blues have a chance to book a place into the Europa League‘s final after getting a vital away draw in Germany earlier on Thursday.

Loftus-Cheek, speaking ahead of the clash, told journalists: “As Chelsea, we want to win trophies so this is a massive opportunity for us. We won’t relax,” 

“It will feel different for me to win a trophy this season because I have helped the team so much in the Europa League campaign.

“This is the best spell of my Chelsea career in terms of games and goals.”

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri spoke ahead of tonight’s Europa League second-leg of semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian boss said: “I am delighted at achieving the club’s target of making the top four. We want to reach the Europa League final and win it because we deserve a trophy this season”.

“It’s not easy because we have to play a dangerous team as we saw in the first leg. They’re dynamic and aggressive and when they can find spaces, it’s a dangerous match. In a semi-final you have to play against a strong team with very strong players. It’s difficult to be the favourite in a semi-final.”

 

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Tomorrow night Chelsea take on Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge in the Europa League‘s semifinal second leg.

After last week’s draw in Germany, the Blues are favourite to reach the final, but speaking during his pre-game press conference, Chelsea’s manager Maurizio Sarri warns his team they have to forget the first leg’s result: “We have to play to win, without managing the results. That’s too dangerous (to do). It’s not easy because we play a very dangerous team, as we saw in the first leg”. Sarri explained. “They are very dynamic and aggressive in the defensive phase, and dangerous in the offensive phase especially when they find spaces on the counter-attack. So it’s a dangerous match.”

Chelsea have already qualified for the next Champions League, now the Europa League can allow the Blues to reach their second target for this season: “We reached the target of the club. And so we are really very happy with this”. Sarri went on. “Now we have to play in another competition and the target is to reach the final – the first target – and the final target will be to win the competition. Our feeling is that we deserve to win a trophy, so it’s a very important match, of course.”

Finally, Sarri gives an injury-update, revealing N’Golo Kante will be back only if Chelsea will reach the final: “Kante had a problem with his hamstring, not really a very serious one but he needs to rest for a couple of weeks. So we can try to recover him only in case we reach the final.”

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Arsenal earned a 3-1 win at home against Valencia despite a slow start to the first-leg of Europa League‘s semi-final. The Spanish side got the upper hand earlier in the first half, before Alexandre Lacazette netted twice to complete the comeback in a vivid first half.

A goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the extra-time means Gunners have a good opportunity to win the clash on aggregate. And also chances to see an all-English Europa League final are still alive.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had his say also on Arsenal 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium: “I want the final against any team, Arsenal or Valencia. For me it’s exactly the same. I want the final and this time I don’t want to play the final, I want to win.

FT – Eintracht v Chelsea 1-1, Pedro scores vital goal in Frankfurt

 

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri watched his side sealing a crucial 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany tonight in the first-leg of Europa League‘s semi-finals. The Blues will host their opponents at Stamford Bridge next Thursday.

The italian manager, speaking after the game, told journalists: “We made a mistake in the first 20 minutes. My feeling from the bench was that we were playing only to manage the result, for the 0-0. We are not able to do that with our characteristics. The difficulty was a mental difficulty I think. We did not approach the match with the right mentality.

Fortunately after the goal we started to play. We started to play after 25 minutes and we played very well until the 85th minute. We deserved to win for the number of goal opportunities. We were for 60 minutes in control of the match”.

Reflecting on the result, Sarri said: “1-1 away is not so bad. They are very dangerous at home, but unfortunately they are also very dangerous away. It depends on the second leg. We have to play at Stamford Bridge. We want the final, but we know we have to play a very good match next week.”

On Ruben Loftus-Cheek: “He is a very important player. He has improved a lot during the season. When he is at the top physically he is a very important player for us. It’s not easy for him to train with consistency because of his back, but in this match he was really fit. Unfortunately with 10 minutes to go he had cramp and asked for a substitution”.

On his choice to rule Eden Hazard out of Chelsea’s starting XI in Frankfurt: “This match was number 59 I think and Hazard also played eight matches in the national team. For a player it’s impossible to play 70, 75 matches in a season. Sometimes Hazard, like all the other players, needs to not play for 90 minutes. This is the first reason. The second is that Eden is usually able to change the match from the bench. For me it was better to start with Willian and try in the last 30 minutes with Eden”.

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Eintracht and Chelsea drew 1-1 in the first leg of Europa League semifinal tonight.

Pedro netted a vital goal for the Blues in the end of the first half, with Sarri’s guys going to play with a slight advantage in the return leg at Stamford Bridge in a week for this away goal.

The match was leveled, with Eintracht being dominant in the first half and Chelsea in the second one.

There was a flurry of late chances that the home side might have taken, but, in truth, quite how the visitors did not inflict the Germans’ first home defeat in this competition will be a source of exasperation given the number of better opportunities passed up during a dominant second half.

The score at the end seemed even with but both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances and the match ended in a draw.

The two sides will meet again on Thursday, May 9 in London for the decisive second leg and a spot in the Europa League final.

 

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Chelsea will face Eintracht Frankfurt tonight in Europa League semifinal’s first leg.

Giroud will start the game and Christensen will replace Rudiger after his knee injury.

Here are the confirmed lineups:

Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp; Abraham, Hinteregger, Falette; Da Costa, Fernandes, Hasebe, Rode; Gacinović; Kostić, Jović.

Subs: Ronnow, N’Dicka, De Guzman, Willems, Torro, Chandler, Goncalo Paciencia

Chelsa: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Kanté, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Giroud, Willian.

Subs: Caballero, Alonso, Barkley, Higuain, Hazard, Kovacic, Zappacosta

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Antonio Rudiger‘s season is over: the German defender was forced off during the second half of Sundays game vs Manchester United at Old Trafford and now he has to undergo a knee surgery to recover from his injury.

Rudiger will miss the Europa League‘s semifinal vs Eintracht Frankfurt and the last two Premier League‘s games.

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