Eintracht Frankfurt reached their first European final for 42 years after a 1-0 home win on Thursday over 10-man West Ham sealed a 3-1 aggregate victory in their Europa League semi-final.
West Ham had left-back Aaron Cresswell sent off early on and Hammers manager David Moyes was also dismissed from the sidelines with 12 minutes left for a kicking a ball at a ball boy.
“Really disappointed. Things didn’t go for us on the night,” Moyes told BT Sport.
“Small things didn’t happen but I am really proud of the players.
“How they played with 10 men was fantastic. They stayed in it.”
Colombia striker Rafael Borre netted the first-half winner on the night to book Frankfurt a place in the Europa League final on May 18 in Seville against Scottish giants Rangers.
They are also now just one win away from qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since losing the 1960 European Cup final to Real Madrid.
“A dream has finally comes true,” said Eintracht club president Peter Fischer.
“This city deserves it. And now we’re going to win this thing.”
West Ham missed out on reaching their first major European final since 1976.
“We just played a team that played a similar way to us and it caught us out. We’re gutted,” said Hammers captain Declan Rice.
Borre scored just after Cresswell was sent off, leaving the visitors a man down for more than an hour and needing to score twice just to force extra time.
Frankfurt had been dealt an early blow when key defender Martin Hinteregger limped off with a leg injury.
When a long ball put Frankfurt’s Jens Hauge into space, Cresswell pulled back the Norwegian, who went down just outside the area.
Cresswell, who was also sent off in the quarter-final first leg against Lyon, was initially only booked, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano brandished the red card after a VAR review.
Moyes, who was angered by that decision, responded by bringing on defender Ben Johnson for Manuel Lanzini.
Yet Frankfurt went ahead in the 26th minute.
When the hosts attacked down the right flank, Ansgar Knauff’s cross found Borre, who fired home unmarked in the area.
Dogged defending in the second half restricted Frankfurt to just a handful of chances for Knauff and Filip Kostic, who caused havoc on the left.
West Ham had chances of their own and as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, Manzano banished Moyes to the stands after the Scot lost his temper.
“I kicked a ball back at a ball boy so I apologise for that,” said the former Everton and Manchester United boss. “He threw it very softly at me.”
Frankfurt, who lost to Chelsea on penalties in the 2019 Europa League semi-finals, are into their first European final since winning the Uefa Cup in 1979/80.
“That was an evening you never forget,” beamed Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner. “The squad was exceptional.”
Rangers roar into ‘dream’ Europa League final
Rangers captain James Tavernier described leading the Glasgow giants into the Europa League final as a “dream come true” after a 3-1 win over RB Leipzig on Thursday took the Scottish champions through 3-2 on aggregate.
Tavernier moved out in front as the top scorer in the competition from right-back when he opened the scoring before Glen Kamara turned the tie around inside the first 24 minutes.
The Finnish midfielder dedicated his goal to long-serving kitman Jimmy Bell, who died on Tuesday, on an emotionally charged night at Ibrox.
Christopher Nkunku hit back for Leipzig in the second half, but John Lundstram scored the winner nine minutes from time.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men will face Eintracht Frankfurt in the final in Seville on May 18 in just their second European final in 50 years.
“We wanted to do it for Jimmy. I’m super proud of all the effort the players, staff, fans put in today. He will be looking down proud of us,” said Tavernier.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, a European final. It’s what you dream of.
“We’ll go there full of confidence. Frankfurt got there for a reason, but it’s one game and we’ll fully back ourselves. We’re in this competition to win it.”
Rangers lost to Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup final of 2008, but have had to start again from the fourth tier of Scottish football following a financial collapse in 2012.
Last season they ended Celtic’s run of nine league titles in a row and will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2010 with victory over Frankfurt at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 13 days’ time.
Leipzig’s 1-0 advantage from the first leg was blown away early on in front of a cacophonous noise.
Tavernier timed his run to perfection to turn in Ryan Kent’s cross before Kamara guided a wonderful finish low into the far corner from outside the box and kissed his black armband in tribute to Bell.
Joe Aribo should have made it three within half an hour when he missed his kick from point-blank range.
Atmosphere ‘something different’
Leipzig lost just once in 19 games between January and April, but have now been beaten in three of their last four to put their chances of Champions League football next season hanging in the balance.
“We knew what to expect, but experiencing this kind of atmosphere in person is something different,” said Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff. “This is part of a recent negative trend and it’s come at the worst time in the final stretch.”
The Germans enjoyed the majority of the ball in the second half and were back on level terms in the tie when Nkunku steered home his 32nd goal of the season from Angelino’s cross.
Rangers then had to dig deep just to keep Leipzig at bay, but they found the winner late on.
Kent’s cross to the back post caused panic in the Leipzig defence and the loose ball broke to Lundstram to stroke into an unguarded net and spark wild scenes of celebration.
“I’m very proud of the achievement so far,” said Van Bronckhorst. “Once you are in the final, we have to do everything to win it as well.”