Berlin : A brace from Randal Kolo Muani helped Eintracht Frankfurt see off resilient rivals Darmstadt 4-2 to reach the German Cup quarterfinals.
The “Eagles” staged a lively start in front of the home crowd and needed only six minutes to break the deadlock as Kolo Muani made no mistake to head home Aurelio Buta’s pinpoint cross into the box, reports Xinhua news agency.
Frankfurt had the chance to make it 2-0 five minutes later but for all that Rafael Santos Borre squandered Buta’s good build-up work and pulled wide with all time and space from close range.
The hosts remained in control but continued wasteful in the final third as Mario Gotze unleashed a shot from a promising position into the arms of Darmstadt goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen with 23 minutes gone.
Darmstadt eventually punished Frankfurt’s laxness in front of the goal after Marvin Mehlem forced a turnover before squaring into the path of Mathias Honsak, who kept his cool and beat Frankfurt custodian Kevin Trapp, making it 1-1 on the scoreboards at the half-hour mark.
Frankfurt was stunned and one goal down moments later as Honsak’s brace turned the tides following a successful counterattack. The hosts pressed frenetically and responded before the break after Borre poked home Gotze’s pass to restore parity.
After the restart, Darmstadt still looked dangerous on fast breaks, but Frankfurt regained the lead in the 61st minute when Kolo Muani’s lay-up header allowed Daichi Kamada to slot home with the outside of the boot from the edge of the box.
The visitors nearly reduced the arrears, but Philiip Tietz rattled only the woodwork from close range in the 65th minute. Frankfurt put the result beyond doubt in the closing stages after Gotze sent the ball to Kolo Muani, who raced down the left wing before curling the ball past Schuhen.
“It is an annoying defeat for us as we gave away two goals. Frankfurt clinically utilized its chances. We tried to perform as well as possible against a top-flight team and I think that is what we did,” said Darmstadt coach Torsten Lieberknecht.
Elsewhere, Freiburg advanced into the next round after two late goals against second-division outfit Sandhausen.
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