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APOEL out as Frankfurt prove too strong

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 APOEL FC
Second-half goals from Stephan Schröck and Constant Djakpa rewarded a bumper crowd in Frankfurt as APOEL's hopes were ended.

Stephan Schröck (C) scored the opening goal for Eintracht
Stephan Schröck (C) scored the opening goal for Eintracht ©AFP/Getty Images

Bundesliga strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt underlined their dominance of Group F with a 2-0 victory that confirmed APOEL FC's UEFA Europa League exit.

The fact that Frankfurt had already secured first place in the section did not deter a crowd of 32,400 turning out for this match, a welcome distraction from the club's Bundesliga travails. Following a dominant first half, they were rewarded after the interval when Stephan Schröck and Constant Djakpa struck to preserve the German side's four-point lead at the summit.

APOEL needed a win to have any chance of progress, but it was the hosts who controlled the early exchanges. On 16 minutes, Jan Rosenthal aimed too high after Schröck had pulled back, and soon afterwards a Marco Russ effort from close range was blocked from a tight angle following a corner.

Other than that, there was very little to warm the heart on a cold evening, with APOEL struggling to impose themselves. Rosenthal did well to release Takashi Inui twice at the end of the first half, but the Japanese winger, who really should have scored from the second opportunity, was denied by APOEL goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis both times.

Eintracht continued to have more of the ball after the break, and Srdjan Lakić headed Schröck's cross into Chiotis's arms. Both coaches made changes, injecting impetus into the game. Felix Wiedwald was called into action on his European debut to deny a Vinicius header, before the lively Schröck ghosted in to head the opener at the far post following Djakpa's cross.

It was soon over, as a beautifully taken Djakpa free-kick from a central position found its way past Chiotis and sealed matters. It could have been 3-0 as substitute Marvin Bakalorz missed two great chances, but it mattered not as Frankfurt made it three home wins from three in Europe.

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