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Barcelona’s Fine Run Halted In Europa League

Favourites Barcelona were dumped out of the Europa League by Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals on Thursday while West Ham United joined RB Leipzig in qualifying for the last four.

Serbian international Filip Kostic scored twice either side of a Rafael Santos Borre strike at the Camp Nou for Frankfurt, who survived a late fightback from the hosts to win 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

Sergio Busquets scored a late consolation before Memphis Depay’s even later penalty for Barcelona but Eintracht held on, to the delight of the estimated 30,000 German supporters who travelled to Catalonia for the game.

They go through to their second Europa League semi-final in four seasons, having lost on penalties to Chelsea at the same stage in 2019.

However it was a desperately disappointing defeat for Barcelona, whose recent revival under Xavi Hernandez has been remarkable but who have managed to win just once at home in Europe all season.

Sitting 12 points behind leaders Real Madrid in La Liga, the campaign is now almost certain to end without silverware for the Catalans, although they are at least on course to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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After conceding three penalties in their weekend win over Levante, Barca fell behind to another spot-kick inside four minutes against Eintracht, as Kostic converted from 12 yards after a foul by Eric Garcia to the delight of the enormous away support.

The visitors scored again in the 36th minute as Colombian forward Borre fired high into the net from range, and Kostic’s low finish into the far corner made it 3-0 midway through the second half.

Busquets had a late goal disallowed for offside before he found the net with a fantastic strike from 20 metres in the first minute of injury time.

The game carried on into an 11th added minute when Depay netted a penalty after Evan Ndicka had been sent off, receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Luuk de Jong.

Yet Eintracht maintained their record of not having lost to Spanish opposition since the 1960 European Cup final against Real Madrid, and they will face West Ham in the semi-finals.

The Premier League side are through to their first European semi-final since they lost the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup final to Anderlecht after outclassing Lyon in France.

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Having drawn 1-1 at home in last week’s first leg despite playing half the game with 10 men, the Hammers took the lead in the 38th minute of the return when Craig Dawson headed in a Pablo Fornals corner at the near post.

Captain Declan Rice slotted in their second goal just before the break, his sidefoot effort from the edge of the area beating Lyon goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck with the aid of a slight deflection.

The outcome was put beyond doubt when West Ham scored again three minutes after the restart as Fornals sent Jarrod Bowen away to make it 3-0.

Earlier the in-form Christopher Nkunku scored both goals as Leipzig beat Atalanta 2-0 in Italy to win their last-eight tie 3-1 on aggregate.

The Germans had come from behind to draw 1-1 at home in the first leg last week and they went in front in the 18th minute in Bergamo as Konrad Laimer cut the ball back from the right for Nkunku to score.

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