Heartbreak for Strasbourg
Strasbourg fell at the final hurdle in their bid for a Europa League group-stage berth, their one-goal lead not enough to make up for an at-times ill-tempered 3-0 defeat away to Eintracht Frankfurt in the return leg of their play-off tie.
Thursday, 29 August 2019
UEFA Europa League play-off, second leg
Eintracht Frankfurt 3 - 0 RC Strasbourg Alsace (Frankfurt qualify 3-1 on aggregate)
It was an evening of heartbreak for Le Racing as they looked to ride their slim aggregate lead into the group stage. The atmosphere Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena was electric and the fans were rewarded early when Strasbourg defensive stalwart Stefan Mitrovic deflected Ante Rebic's acute effort in for an own-goal (26').
Things looked to be taking a turn in Strasbourg's favour when World Cup finalist Rebic saw red for a dangerous tackle on an on-rushing Mats Sels in the Strasbourg area (44'), but a rush of blood to the head from Strasbourg veteran Dimitri Liénard early in the second saw him get his marching orders for an altercation with Eintracht midfielder Dominik Kohr (55').
Soon afterwards, Serbian midfielder Filip Kostic made it 2-0 on the night with an absolute thunderbolt of a strike that blasted in off the underside off the bar (60'), and when Daichi Kamada unlocked the Strasbourg defence and played defender Danny Da Costa in for a simple but well-taken finish, Strasbourg knew their dreams of a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage were over.
Thierry Laurey's men were crestfallen after the third goal, and although Nuno Da Costa went close to reviving hopes with angled header, the aggregate score remained locked at 3-1 until the final whistle put an end to Strasbourg's valiant - but ultimately unsuccessful - European qualifying tilt.
THE PLAYER: Kevin Trapp
The former Paris Saint-Germain 'keeper proved the bane of this tie's Ligue 1 Conforama representative, making big saves at key moments - notably denying first-leg goal hero Kévin Zohi (63') and making a superb save from Adrien Thomasson's goal-bound effort (71') - to keep the momentum in Frankfurt's favour as they ran away with the match in the final half-hour.
THE STAT: 4
Despite seeing their dreams evaporate in their sixth UEFA Europa League qualifying match of the season, Le Racing turned in an impressive early-seasonperformance with four wins overall, including victory away to Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the third qualifying round.