BERLIN: Swit-zerland striker Haris Seferovic threw down a marker for Euro 2016 on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) by scoring the crucial goal in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-0 play-off win at Nuremberg to keep them in the German league.
After last Thursday’s relegation play-off first-leg in Frankfurt finished in a 1-1 draw, Seferovic netted at Nuremberg’s sold-out Grundig Stadium to the delight of the traveling fans in the 50,000 crowd.
It was only Seferovic’s fourth goal of the season, his first since November, but he proved his form to Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic for next month’s Euro 2016 by netting Frankfurt’s all-important goal to seal a 2-1 aggregate win.
The striker struck in the 66th minute, converting a cross from Mijat Gacinovic, who scored Frankfurt’s equalizer in the first leg, to Eintracht’s delight.
It means Frankfurt coach Niko Kovac has succeeded in his mission of keeping Eintracht up having taken over with nine games left last March and his team in the bottom three.
For Nuremberg, they face another season in Germany’s second division as they miss out on promotion having finished third in the second Bundesliga.
“Thank god we’re still in the first division,” said Kovac, whose team entered the play-off by finishing third from bottom in Germany’s top flight while Hanover and VfB Stuttgart went down.
“I am pleased that we’ve managed it, but I have some sympathy for Nuremberg.
“It would have been tragic if we’d gone down, with that goal, we can forget about the entire season.”
The only bad news was an early injury to midfielder Marc Stendera with a suspected torn cruciate knee ligament, but he insisted on staying at the stadium, instead of going to hospital, to watch his club fight to stay up.
There was already plenty of drama in last Thursday’s first leg when Eintracht’s captain Marco Russ scored an own-goal, a day after discovering he has a tumor.
He was due to undergo surgery on Monday.
The growth’s location has not been disclosed, but Russ insisted on playing last Thursday, only to score Nuremberg’s first-half goal before picking up a booking which saw him suspended for Monday’s return.