On a dramatic final night in Group D, the Eagles went behind late in the first half as Arthur Gomes scored against the run of play, but a spirited second half performance, inspired by substitute Sebastian Rode, saw the Bundesliga representatives turn the tables through Daichi Kamada’s penalty and an emphatic winner from Randal Kolo-Muani.
Sow replaces captain Rode
Oliver Glasner made just one change to the side that lost 2-1 against Dortmund at the weekend, with Djibril Sow coming in for captain Rode in central midfield. There was also a return to Europe’s top table for defender Tuta, who missed the victory against Marseille through suspension.
Sporting play it smart
With everything still to play for heading into the final round of fixtures, Frankfurt knew a win would take them into the last 16. Yet it was Sporting, themselves needing only a draw to progress, who fashioned the first opportunity, Kevin Trapp saving with his feet from Marcus Edwards’ angled attempt.
The Eagles took the game to their hosts subsequently and forced a first a save from Antonio Adán at the other end as Paulinho headed Mario Götze’s header towards his own goal. Yet Sporting, despite losing Nuno Santos to injury just after the half-hour mark, managed the game intelligently and stunned the visitors shortly before the interval as Sow’s defensive header looped up kindly for Arthur Gomes, whose first-time strike squirmed under the legs of Trapp to make it 1-0.
Fortune favours the brave
After Tuta directed his free header straight at Adán just before the interval, Glasner’s men went into the dressing room trailing but the coach’s half-time pep talk certainly did the job as Eintracht, now with Rode off the bench, came out with renewed vigour. It told shortly after the hour as Sebastian Coates handled in the box. Referee Slavko Vincic pointed to the spot and Kamada made no mistake, sending Adán the wrong way to level the scores.
The Eagles continued to fly forward in search of an all-important winner and after threatening with a header minutes earlier, it was Kolo Muani who got it, racing away from his marker on the right of the box before rifling an unstoppable finish past Adán into the far corner.
Summary: It’s a knockout!
Sporting tried desperately to salvage their European status in the closing stages but Frankfurt held on for a victory that sparked delirious celebrations at the final whistle. It was no less than the away side deserved for their courageous display and they can now look forward to a mouth-watering tie as they join the glittering likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City in Monday’s round of 16 draw.
Trapp – Tuta, Jakic (Smolcic 81’), N’Dicka – Dina Ebimbe (Knauff 69’), Sow, Kamada, Pellegrini – Lindström (Rode 45’), Götze (Alidou 90’) – Kolo Muani (Borré 80’)
1-0 Arthur Gomes (39’)
1-1 Kamada (62’ pen)
1-2 Kolo Muani (72’)