BARCELONA, Spain, April 14 – Barcelona were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday as Eintracht Frankfurt cruised to a shock 3-2 victory at Camp Nou to advance to the semi-finals.
After the first leg ended 1-1 in Germany last week, Barca were heavy favorites to win at home against a ninth-placed side in the Bundesliga.
But Frankfurt, inspired by an incredible traveling support of around 20,000 fans, dominated the Catalans, Filip Kostic scoring twice, the first an early penalty, either side of a superb long-range strike from Rafael Santos Borre.
Sergio Busquets pulled one back for Barcelona in the 91st minute and then Memphis Depay netted a penalty in the 11th minute of injury time as the hosts attempted a late comeback.
But it was too little, too late as Frankfurt sealed a capital 4-3 aggregate victory.
They will face West Ham in the last four after the Premier League outfit overtook Lyon.
“It’s a blow for us. They deserved to pass,” said Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, who was also unhappy with the number of away fans in the stadium.
“Obviously it didn’t help us,” Xavi added. “It was like a final, the fans were equally divided. The club is checking what happened but it was a mistake on our part.
Barcelona have been unbeaten since December in all competitions and climbed to second place in La Liga after beating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu less than a month ago.
Although this run means Barca should no longer need the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League next season, it was a great opportunity for Xavi to add a trophy to what has been the first few months. impressive as a coach.
Instead, Frankfurt advance to the last four and the German club will now be aiming for their first European triumph since winning the UEFA Cup in 1980.
“What we went through today, no money can buy,” Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner said. “These emotions will last forever.”
– Injury time goals –
They exploded out of the blocks and Barca gave them a head start, Eric Garcia bringing down Jesper Lindstroem under a high ball in the box and Kostic driving the penalty after three minutes.
Barcelona came close to equalizing as Ronald Araujo’s volley was cleared before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed Ousmane Dembele’s cross from just above.
But Frankfurt kept pouring on the counter and in the 36th minute they scored again. Dembele’s pass for Busquets failed in midfield and Frankfurt quickly broke.
Kostic recovered on the pitch for Borre, who advanced to the retreating Araujo then went on a rampage from 40 yards out, the ball flying past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the net.
Frenkie de Jong replaced the injured Pedri at half-time and Barca almost grabbed the first goal they needed, but Aubameyang inexplicably missed the ball from a yard past the back post.
At the other end, Lindstroem could have put Frankurt out of sight but his arrival was blocked by Ter Stegen’s right foot as Barca wanted a penalty for a handball against Borre but technical issues prevented the referee from reviewing with VAR.
Aubameyang and Garcia both left and moments later Frankfurt hit Barca with a ruthless and straightforward third.
A throw-in headed for Daichi Kamada, who had time to shift left to Kostic. Sergino Dest was slow to close space and Kostic punished him, unleashing a shot past Ter Stegen and into the far corner.
Busquets, who had already had a goal ruled out by VAR, finally netted one for Barcelona in the first minute of injury time.
Barca needed two more. They should have had one but Araujo’s arrival was blocked and Luuk de Jong headed wide.
Then they did, De Jong burst through Evan N’Dicka and Depay finishing from the spot. There was no time for another attack.