Pedro netted a potentially crucial away goal as Chelsea quelled Eintracht Frankfurt in a 1-1 Europa League semi-final draw at Commerzbank-Arena. Luka Jovic gave Eintracht Frankfurt a first-half lead against Chelsea but Pedro levelled in the Europa League semi-final first leg. Jovic enhanced his growing reputation by scoring his 26th goal of the season, a fabulous header that put Eintracht ahead after 23 minutes of the first leg. But Maurizio Sarri’s men turned the tide and Pedro struck amid a flurry of late first-half pressure.
The draw means Chelsea have set a new record in the competition since it was rebranded. The London side are now unbeaten in their last 16 Europa League games, a new record in the competition since it was rebranded in 2009-10.
16 – @ChelseaFC are unbeaten in their last 16 Europa League games, a new record in the competition since it was rebranded in 2009-10. Sweet. #SGECHE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 2, 2019
David Luiz hit the crossbar with a free-kick and the rested Eden Hazard was sent on after the hour mark to try to force an elusive winner, although the Premier League side remain well positioned to seal their place in the final in Baku. Roared on by a ferocious home crowd, Eintracht made a positive start and captain David Abraham should have raised the roof when he blazed over unmarked from Danny da Costa’s 21st-minute set-piece.
Star forward Jovic proved typically more reliable from a far trickier chance, brilliantly glancing Filip Kostic’s left-wing cross into the bottom-right corner. Eintracht’s poise deserted them during the closing minutes of the first half and, after twice going close himself, Ruben Loftus-Cheek showed supreme strength and close control as he set up Pedro to lash home.
The England midfielder was to the fore again in the 54th minute, powering smoothly through the Frankfurt half and exchanging passes with Pedro, although he could not find the finish to match. Chelsea were in command as the hour approached and David Luiz cracked a free-kick from 25 yards against the bar, before Hazard entered the fray in place of Willian in the 61st minute.
Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp parried to deny Loftus-Cheek the goal his endeavours deserved and held a David Luiz header. Abraham nodded an 85th-minute chance over – it was Eintracht’s first opening for some time and would have been an incredibly fortunate winner.
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