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Frankfurt stage second-half comeback in UEFA Youth League

Spurs 2-3 Eintracht Frankfurt (UEFA Youth League)

Wed 12 October 2022, 15:21|Tottenham Hotspur

Our youngsters surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead to go down 3-2 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday afternoon, leaving our hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages hanging by a thread.

Alfie Devine's brace had given us a healthy lead in the first period as we played some tidy football, but the German side left us stunned with three goals in the first eight minutes of the second half to turn the game around.

With nothing less than victory realistically good enough for us at this stage in Group D, we pushed and pushed for a way back into the game, Romaine Mundle our biggest threat with three near-misses, including an incredible long-range effort that smacked off the post with the clock ticking down.

However, it wasn't to be and our misery was compounded in stoppage time when captain Matthew Craig was shown a straight red card for an alleged stamp on Elias Baum.

The visitors started aggressively and George Abbott had to clear Ignacio Ferri Julia's effort off the line inside two minutes but we soon gained the upper hand, Jamie Donley slipping a great pass through for Devine to round goalkeeper Matteo Bignetti and slot home a 10th-minute opener. Although Frankfurt had a couple of attempts thereafter, the rest of the first half belonged largely to us, although we would come to rue a number of missed chances, Donley's low shot hitting the post and Alfie Dorrington's tame header drifting wide from Mundle's corner in two of the better ones.

Our deserved second goal finally arrived on 38 minutes, Donley again setting up Devine to break into the box and hammer across Bignetti into the far corner. But while we looked in full control at half-time, everything changed in the blink of an eye, Divaio Bobson guiding a shot home from eight yards within seconds of the restart before Anas Alaoui - one of three substitutes introduced by Frankfurt at the break - converted from close range in the 49th minute after a scramble in the box that included a good stop from Adam Hayton. And four minutes later, the visitors had completed a remarkable turnaround as we cleared our lines only as far as Tim Hannak on Frankfurt's right, whose sweetly-struck volley from 22 yards flew into the top corner.

Mundle was a lively runner on the left flank and you sensed he would be at the centre of any leveller for us as he frequently took players on and tried his luck from distance, but his two nearest attempts fell agonisingly short as he first fizzed a shot inches wide from 20 yards before striking the far post from even further out with three minutes to go. For their part, Frankfurt went close through Alaoui and Marcel Wenig but we were unable to make our pressure count and Donley's late appeal for a penalty following Derek Boakye Osei's challenge was waved away, Craig's red card - a decision that seemed harsh - only adding to our frustrations on what turned out to be a thoroughly disappointing afternoon. The outcome leaves us third in the group with three points from four games - we'll need to win both of our remaining matches and hope that other results go our way if we're to progress.

Spurs 2-3 Eintracht Frankfurt (UEFA Youth League)

Spurs: Hayton, McKnight, Abbott (Moore 86), Andiyapan, Dorrington, Craig (c), Williams (Lankshear 46), Devine, Santiago, Donley, Mundle. Substitutes (not used): Gunter, Chaplin, Linton, Olusesi, Ajayi.

Eintracht Frankfurt: Bignetti, Hannak, Baum, Gebuhr (c), Boakye Osei, Wenig, Fenyo (Ghotra 46), Loune (Mladenovic 46), Bobson (Kolbe 71), Ferri Julia (Alaoui 46), Schafer (Gaul Souza 86). Substitutes (not used): Gauer, Harangi.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Devine 10, 38; Eintracht Frankfurt - Bobson 46, Alaoui 49, Hannak 53.

Yellow cards: Spurs - Santiago 83, Mundle 90+1, Hayton 90+5; Eintracht Frankfurt - Ferri Julia 35, Schafer 83.

Red card: Spurs - Craig 90+4.

Referee: Vitor Ferreira (Portugal).

Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.

Weather: Cloudy, gentle breeze, 17 degrees.

Attendance: 193.