eIt was the match ball on the God Island. And the concord did not ask twice. Right at the start, coach Adi Hütter's side bravely attacked and secured their place in the second round of the Europa League just two games before the end of the group stage. The Frankfurt football pros had to do a harder piece of work for at least one half-time on Thursday evening, because unlike in the first leg Apollon Limassol proved in his 92nd European match of the club history this time over a longer period than tough and resilient. Nevertheless, Eintracht won 3-1 with goals from Luka Jovic (17), Sebastien Haller (55) and Mijat Gacinovic (58) in the two goals from Emilio Zelaya (71 and 90 + 2).
"Now we want to stay first," said SGE goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. "I just want to highlight the positives today because we qualified in a group that many did not think we could do." Goalie Gacinovic said, "It was not easy for us. We were not fresh because we played a lot last. Main thing won. "Haller saw it similarly:" We have qualified, only that counts. "
It was the fourth victory in the fourth game. An impeccable record, which in this clarity before probably no one of the Hütter troupe in the supposed "death group" H had dared. But the team has developed – not only in the Bundesliga, but also and especially in the Europa League. Two weeks into the first half of the season in front of empty ranks at Olympique Marseille, a furious 4-1 draw against Lazio and a 2-0 win over Apollon two weeks ago, they also deserved a 3-2 win in Cyprus.
Home game in Cyprus? It almost seemed. The old town of Nicosia: during the day firmly in the hands of the fans. The stadium of Nicosia: in the evening also in the hands of the Eintracht trailer. It seemed almost spooky. Two of the four grandstands were almost deserted. Only in the guest block was crowded. There, the approximately 5000 Eintracht fans had made themselves comfortable there. Uniform dressed in gray hoodies, was sung and clapped almost without ceasing. And at least once cheered, because, no doubt: It was the team of coach Adi Hütter, who continued on the gray wall of Nicosia in Cyprus, where she had last stopped in the first leg against Limassol two weeks ago: a football match in Europe To win the League.
It soon became apparent that Eintracht had the better culture of play, but Apollo was by no means defeated without a fight. Compared to the 0-2 draw from Frankfurt, the Cypriots were improved form. Nevertheless, it was the Frankfurters who had to score more than one goal in the first half. For example, once again Marc Stendera took the lead on the left two minutes before the opening goal by Jovic, but missed the target. The 1: 0, scored on the left and left by the stormy Serb after preparatory work by Jetro Willems, was the result of great determination. Three minutes before the break Haller had after excellent preliminary work by Evan Ndicka the possibility to increase to 2: 0, but was disturbed by Valentin Roberge, who went in dire need in between. In the 44th minute then appeared for a change, the Cypriots in front of the Frankfurt goal, managed by Anton Maglica on the right but not to bring Keeper Kevin Trapp seriously in distress.
After the break, the Cypriots continued their attack efforts. But Eintracht struck ice cold. In the 55th minute, Haller eliminated all the remaining doubt who would be the winner on this November 8: Frankfurt. Haller profited in the 2-0 from a fast-forwarded counterattack over Willems and the flanking Gacinovic, who after a weak first half had a precise cross his first sustainable game moment. But that was not all: Gacinovic was the only one who made it 3-0 just three minutes after the 2-0 win. Against his low shot from the edge of the penalty area, Apollon goalkeeper Tasos Kissas was powerless.
3-0 – the game was decided to make it into the semifinals, although Apollon even reduced by the substitute Zelaya in the 71st minute with the head of the first goal and in added time with a converted penalty kick even to 2: 3. Although Stendera was relegated to yellow-red in the 82nd minute of the field following the second yellow card, it was a nice evening for the concord, and it was also a nice evening for the well-restored Gelson Fernandes from the start played in the defensive midfield and celebrated his 25th deployment in Europe with Frankfurt football fans at the match ball on the God Island.
"We managed to turn the first match ball. That pleases me very much. Compliment to the team, "praised Eintracht coach Adi Hütter. And sporting director Bruno Hübner was completely satisfied: "The Europa League is something very special for us. We are on a very good way. "