After Ruben Loftus-Cheek put the hosts ahead, Luka Jovic equalised for the German visitors early in the second half, and they looked the more likely to grab a winner in a scrappy game.
After two European ties of outstanding action earlier this week, we were perhaps due a game that was a little more ragged. But it led to a no less absorbing tie at Stamford Bridge as both teams threw themselves into the action.
It was more grit and guts on show than guile and great action with two sides desperate to get to the Europa League final.
Chelsea took the lead through a fine finish from rising England star Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has matured immeasurably after going to the World Cup with England last summer.
Luka Jovic, oddly kept quiet in the first half, was not to stay silent though – dragging Frankfurt level early in the second period with an effortlessly calm strike. He was a handful from then on, and here, we take a closer look at his performance.
Goals – 1
Shots – 4
On target – 2
Touches – 51
Passes – 26
Pass accuracy – 80.8%
Aerials won – 2
Dribbles – 4
GOT RIGHT – COMETH THE HOUR
A 27th goal of a decorative season for the young Serb. Coming in his 45th game, that is a ridiculously good record for a player who only turned 21 two days before Christmas.
Real Madrid have reportedly tied up a €60m deal with Frankfurt and Benfica and what a gift to give a side desperately in need of goals.
He wasn’t having a highlight reel kind of game up until his goal, but when the chance came he was ready. The ice cold composure of a deadly striker, he finished with aplomb.
GOT RIGHT – HUNGER
What someone like Manchester United would give for a star striker with the appetite for working off the ball that Jovic has. Even with things not going his way, he kept up the pace, closing Chelsea players for his team’s cause.
With the goals he’s plundered this season he could be forgiven for acting like the star who deserves all the praise. He made three tackles against Chelsea – only David Abraham and Mijat Gacinovic made more.
GOT WRONG – TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
As terrific as he is and has been, he’s not the smoothest of operators with the ball when not shooting. He’s a deadly finisher, of that there is no doubt, and he possesses a superb work ethic and seemingly boundless energy. But if he’s going to Madrid, that won’t be enough. He’ll have to improve technically.
On a rainy night in west London he was by no means the sole player to struggle to hold onto the ball, it was a sloppy game in that way. But of his four dribbles, he was dispossessed twice and made four unskilled touches.
The hallmark of all good strikers? They can find the net even when they’re not really having their best game. While Chelsea counterpart Olivier Giroud drifted in and out of the game and left no telling impression, it wasn’t happening at all in attack for Jovic, and yet he still made the difference.
A similar player to the Frenchman in that he’s a handful and is an aerial presence. But his ground game is superb and he’s deadly in front of goal.
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