Chelsea FC set a new Europa League record for the longest unbeaten run in the competition’s history after drawing 1-1 with Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final first leg.
The Blues matched Atletico Madrid’s previous best of 15 games unbeaten after beating Slavia Prague in the quarter-finals and surpassed the Spanish club on Thursday evening in Frankfurt. Chelsea’s record-breaking run began back in 2012, the season in which they lifted the Europa League trophy. Luka Jovic’s superb first-half header saw Maurizio Sarri’s side fall behind in Germany, but Pedro levelled for the Premier League team shortly before half-time.
Chelsea began the match without star man Eden Hazard, who was named on the bench with Sarri unwilling to play the Belgian for the entire 90 minutes. That decision seemed a questionable one as Frankfurt started the stronger of the two sides, putting considerable pressure on the visitors in front of their raucous fans.
And it came as no surprise when the Bundesliga side opened the scoring, with Chelsea and Liverpool target Jovic producing a fantastic header to beat Kepa Arrizabalaga. Chelsea were struggling to create opportunities until Pedro found a yard of space in the penalty box and drilled a shot into the back of the net.
Touch. Bang. 💥
Pedro comes up BIG for Chelsea with an away goal on the stroke of half-time! pic.twitter.com/Krx5aZ874l
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 2, 2019
Frankfurt’s intensity fell away after the break and Ruben Loftus-Cheek wasted a good chance before David Luiz struck the bar with a free-kick. England’s Loftus-Cheek saw an effort saved by Kevin Trapp and the German goalkeeper was required again just minutes later to deny a Luiz header.
The hosts, outplayed in the second half, were close to scoring themselves with just five minutes remaining but David Abraham’s header flew over the bar. The 1-1 draw puts Chelsea in a decent position to progress to the Europa League final ahead of next week’s return leg at Stamford Bridge.