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Europa League review: West Ham and Rangers needed a comeback in the second leg after narrow defeats

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West Ham went unbeaten in their first European Cup semi-final in 46 years, losing 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Moyes’ eager side regretted defensive mistakes which allowed Frankfurt to take the lead in the first minute at the London Stadion with a header from Ansgar Knauff.

The Hammers equalized in the first half, with Michail Antonio bundling the ball over the line for his first goal since March 2.

It wasn’t enough for the Londoners that night, however, and Frankfurt regained the lead in the second half when Daichi Kamada slotted the ball past Alphonse Areola.

Frankfurt had looked an enticing prospect for the Hammers, currently ninth in the Bundesliga, but they started the game full of confidence after beating European giants Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

In the first minute, Frankfurt overpowered West Ham and took the lead. The ball was brought in from the left to Almamy Toure on the edge of the box and his lobed pass found Knauff, who headed in the goal.

The home side tried to get back into play with a high cross to Tomas Soucek, but it went just above the towering midfielder.

West Ham had an ideal chance to equalize in the 13th minute when Jarrod Bowen drove through the Frankfurt defense but his final shot was tipped onto the woodwork by goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

However, the Hammers only had to wait until the 22nd minute to find the equalizer.

Manuel Lanzini stepped up to take a free-kick and deflected it into the box while Kurt Zouma returned the ball over the goal for Antonio to deflect it over the line.

In the 39th minute, West Ham found themselves exposed in defense when Knauff was run through with a ball that slashed the home side’s defence. The striker’s ball contact was poor and he went around the keeper but eventually shot over the bar.

The second half started the same way the first half ended, with West Ham having a chance when Antonio Soucek selected, but the Czech international missed his volley, slamming it into the ground and then wide.

Frankfurt took the lead as West Ham once again left themselves open at the back.

Kamada added the finishing touches after Craig Dawson left his position to let a Jesper Lindstrom ball through West Ham’s defence.

Areola was a match for Djibril Sow’s attempt, but Kamada was able to knock home after the rebound.

Minutes after coming on, Said Benrahma almost equalized with a clever shot from outside the box, but his deflected shot went just over the goal.

West Ham tried to push for an equalizer but struggled to break through the German side’s defense and it was Frankfurt who almost did it in the 79th minute when Kamada’s deflected shot hit the woodwork.

In stoppage time, the Hammers had one last chance to level the tie with Bowen’s attempted overhead kick, but despite a good connection his shot bounced off the bar.

RB Leipzig 1 Rangers 0

Rangers will need to come from behind to reach the Europa League final after losing 1-0 at the Red Bull Arena to an agonizingly late RB Leipzig goal.

The Bundesliga side dominated possession in the first half of the semi-final first leg, although Gers keeper Allan McGregor had no real save until Christopher Nkunku put him to the test just after the break.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were more upset after the break but also remained largely disciplined defensively until Spanish full-back Angelino scored the winner five minutes from time.

Rangers overcame a 1-0 first-leg defeat by Braga in the last round and will be hoping for another tumultuous night at the Ibrox to take them to their first European final in 14 years

First, there’s the matter of an Old Firm game with Rangers going to Celtic Park on Sunday six points behind Premiership leaders with four games to play and the Hoops also enjoying an advantage on goal difference.

It is therefore a crucial week for the Gers, who have once again put in a tenacious performance in Europe.

With strikers Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe still out injured, Van Bronckhorst had to adapt again and move back in what appeared to be a 5-3-2 formation with midfielder John Lundstram, starting Stephen Wright in front with Ryan Kent.

Joe Aribo, Kent, Lundstram, Ryan Jack and Calvin Bassey all returned for the Govan side, while RB Leipzig boss Domenico Tedesco was without midfielder Kevin Kampl and suspended defenders Willi Orban and Mohamed Simakan.

Star forward Nkunku led the line, supported by Spain winger Dani Olmo and Hungary’s Dominik Szoboszlai.

Rangers fans were in most parts of the stadium which helped create a great atmosphere but watched their side chase the shadows at the start.

A penalty call when Nkunku failed to get past Gers defender Connor Goldson was ignored by French referee Benoit Bastien.

The Light Blues barely got a breather and in the 16th minute Bassey blocked a Nkunku shot on goal before Goldson with equal desperation blocked Szoboszlai’s shot that worried McGregor.

With her first corner just before the half-hour, Goldson headed Borna Barisic’s delivery over the bar, but Rangers were soon back on defense, skipper James Tavernier preventing a superb Angelino strike.

With Aribo ahead after the break, Rangers got their first real chance early in the second half when Kent made room in the RB Leipzig penalty area and hissed the ball in front of skipper Peter Gulacsi’s goal, but found no taker.

Tavernier then had a shot deflected for a corner but Goldson headed over again.

At the other end, McGregor smashed a drive away from Nkunku – a reminder to the Govan men of the home team’s threat.

RB Leipzig pounced and Rangers were back behind, but the Ibrox side’s defense defended resolutely.

Fashion Sakala replaced Wright after 68 minutes and moved up to the centre-forward position, but shortly afterwards the visitors should have fallen behind.

Nkunku charged into the Rangers box and went around McGregor but with the goal open he hammered the ball over the bar – it was a huge disappointment for the Light Blues.

In the 75th minute, Gulacsi collected a long-range shot from Kent before Nkunku defeated Bassey with a header but missed again and then McGregor tipped a Tyler Adams shot over the bar.

Sakala headed clear from the corner, but only for Angelino, who spun past the Gers keeper from 20 yards out to give the home side the advantage going into Glasgow.

Leicester 1 Rome 1

Ademola Lookman made Leicester dream after a brave draw against Roma in Europe.

The forward’s ninth goal of the season will send the Foxes to the Stadio Olimpico next week, where they are held 1-1 in the Europa Conference League semi-final second leg.

Brendan Rodgers’ side missed a fighting chance in Italy despite Lorenzo Pellegrini’s opener after a spirited performance.

They have beaten Roma for a long time and will feel like they can reach the final in Tirana next month.

However, Leicester will be frustrated that a draw started well, only to lose their vigilance once in the first half.

Jamie Vardy’s 19-minute display in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa allowed him to stretch his legs and his threat was evident in the first two minutes.

Chris Smalling slipped under pressure from the striker, forcing Gianluca Mancini to clear behind the first of a series of Leicester corners.

From one side, a stretching Timothy Castagne headed wide of the far post but Leicester’s brilliant opening was stopped when Roma took the lead after 15 minutes.

A crossfield pass from Nicolo Zaniolo found Nicola Zalewski and he was allowed to run unchallenged and slipped in Pellegrini.

The captain ran after Wesley Fofana and, after Youri Tielemans failed to pursue him, scored his fourth goal in eight European games this season through the legs of Kasper Schmeichel.

The Foxes lost Castagne, who was replaced by James Justin, shortly afterwards to injury and they briefly lost their way as Roma grew in the competition.

However, the foxes rediscovered their bite, and Lookman stretched the visitors twice. First, Smalling expertly blocked Lookman’s shot before coming to the rescue of Rui Patricio after 34 minutes.

Lookman, this time on the edge of the area, found space again, Patricio saved his shot and the keeper needed Smalling to clear quickly from a lurking Vardy.

Former Manchester United defender Smalling then clapped Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – again excellent for the Foxes – only for James Maddison’s free-kick to hit the wall.

Maddison rippled over five minutes before the break and the theme continued in the second half when Lookman completely misread a header from six yards.

But the RB Leipzig striker on loan had been the Foxes’ biggest threat and Roma’s resolve finally broke after 67 minutes.

Substitute Harvey Barnes made an immediate impact when Roger Ibanez tried to slice his pass into the box only to have the ball returned straight to the winger.

Barnes took advantage and crossed over Lookman to pool at close range.

Lively Leicester looked a second and Kelechi Iheanacho headed over under pressure while Maddison increased his influence.

The Foxes – by far the better side – kept their cool as they looked for opportunities and Patricio had to turn Iheanacho’s curling efforts wide after Tielemans robbed Bryan Cristante.

But they were nearly wiped out with 10 minutes to go after Tammy Abraham served up Sergio Oliveira with brilliant footwork and strength and Schmeichel turned his effort around.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/europa-league-round-up-west-ham-and-rangers-left-needing-second-leg-comebacks-after-narrow-defeats-41598410.html Europa League review: West Ham and Rangers needed a comeback in the second leg after narrow defeats

Fry Electronics Team

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