Barcelona’s dream of silverware this season is over and in stunning fashion. On Thursday, Eintracht Frankfurt went to the Camp Nou and earned a shocking and monumental victory, bashing Barça 3-2 in the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinal. The surprise win by the visitors snapped Barca’s 15-game unbeaten streak. The Catalan giants hadn’t lost in nearly three months and in the end, the German club won the tie on aggregate, 4-3.
A penalty kick in just the fourth minute proved to be the difference with Eric Garcia’s silly foul on Jesper Lindstrom. Filip Kostic would finish it, and he would score again in the 67th minute to make it 3-0.
But it was the 2-0 goal that stole the show. Colombian Rafael Santos Borre drilled a bullet from about 35 yards out for what could be the goal of the tournament, honoring fellow Cafatero Freddy Rincon with a tribute after the goal.after injuries he suffered in a car accident in Colombia on Monday.
The win for Eintracht Frankfurt sends them into the last four where they will face West Ham for a spot in the final. Barça got a late consolation goal from Sergio Busquets with the tie already decided before earning another one via a Memphis Depay penalty kick in the final seconds.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
1. Eintracht took over and didn’t look back
The German club deserves massive props for what they just accomplished. They beat Barça something Real Madrid, Napoli and others have failed to do since earlier in the year. And they did it with an impressive and effective gameplan. Sure, it was aided by the early goal, but with just a tad over 25 percent possession, they still managed to produce five more shots than Barça. They only allowed Barca’s starting XI to record three shots on goal and defended so well, keeping shape and helping each other out as Barça aimed to infiltrate the box. The scoreline will be deceiving because it never felt like, at least to me, that a comeback was coming. When the sign showing the added minutes came up, it was 3-0 and so one sided.
Eintracht took the chances they created, took the goal Barça gave them and never looked back. An unbelievable day for the club.
2. The Eric Garcia error set the tone
Oh, Eric. What was that? His early foul on Jesper Lindstrom changed this game. He was all over the Eintracht man, and sure, that happens in a lot of games and isn’t called. But it should be, and this time it was. It was within the ref’s view, he was quick to call it, and it was just horrific defending by a talented young player. His face of shock showed that he thought he could get away with that level of physicality, but not on this day. That was where Barça’s Europa League lives began to crumble.
3. Too much to ask for after digging a hole
After a wild comeback at Levante last weekend in La Liga, doing it again was unlikely here. At 1-0, sure, there was a chance, but up until that point and well after, Barça rarely looked like a threat. Borre’s goal to make it 2-0 also came during a time where Barça didn’t look like much of a threat. They could not break down a compact defense that reacted well, especially on balls played centrally, and they really never stood a chance once the hour mark arrived. It was sloppy all around, and now Barça have conceded four penalty in their last two games.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism