Eintracht Frankfurt beat 10-man West Ham United 1-0 in their Europa League semifinal second leg on Thursday to reach their first European final in 42 years with a 3-1 aggregate victory.
The explanation for what happened on Thursday night is simple: this time they didn't; this time they came and supported Barcelona's opponents instead. But that is not the only difference, and here is an important point to end on. If "tourist" is a loaded word, used dismissively and often unfairly, this time it doesn't really apply. Here comes the caveat, and it is a colossal one: these weren't "tourists"; these were fans, loyal and loud, following their team en masse across the continent for a night they would never forget. And when you strip it all away, that part at least was actually genuinely pretty special - something unique worthy of celebrating the way Eintracht Frankfurt did.
Barcelona were held to a lacklustre, goalless draw against Galatasaray in the first leg of their round-of-16 match at the Camp Nou on Thursday.
Much of Xavi Hernandez's time in charge of Barcelona has seen stop-start results, with fans yet to see a clear blueprint of how the team can move forward, play and succeed in the coming months, yet green shoots started to appear in a swashbuckling 4-2 victory over Napoli on Thursday.
Two years have not been completed yet and during this time Arsenal, under Mikel Arteta, experienced a couple of false dawns. Meanwhile, the sacked coach of Arsenal, back in 2019, Unai Emery joined Villarreal and helped them improve. Right now, Arteta discovers himself in the wilderness while Unai Emery would travel to Poland for the finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Teams like AS Roma might have lost their glory days, still, they are habituated to exhibit their fighting nature and shock the superior opponents – just ask Ajax and Barcelona how Roma stunned and Manchester United were given the scare at Rome, but thankfully, someone like Edinson Cavani was there for the rescue.
Roma were leading and at one point, Manchester United unleashed the beast that devoured Roma as if it was hungry for many years – hungry for goals, hungry for success. The Red Devils ended the night with an unassailable advantage that all but places them in the Europa League final next month.
The UEFA Europa League is more often known as the Unai Emery League because he boasts a fantastic record in this competition and right now, after being sacked from North London, he has taken Villarreal to the semifinals of the Europa League and started off with a victory. Still, the threat remains because Arsenal have an away-goal advantage.
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