Eintracht Frankfurt won the 2021/22 Europa League on Wednesday night as they emerged victorious against Rangers on penalties in Seville.
Joe Aribo opened the scoring shortly after the break but Frankfurt came roaring back and tied things up through Rafael Santos Borre’s clever finish which sent the game to extra-time and eventually penalties, where the Germans would go on to claim victory.
After the opening ten minutes were disrupted by a nasty head injury to Sebastian Rode, the first opportunity fell Frankfurt’s way. Daichi Kamada’s run caused havoc in the box and the ball found its way to Djibril Sow 18 yards out, but the midfielder’s strike was well saved by Allan McGregor.
McGregor was needed again to keep the score level as Ansgar Knauff cut inside from the right wing and fired at the Scot’s near post.
Rangers first real opportunity came through Aribo. Filling in for Kemar Roofe in attack, the Nigerian turned dangerously on the edge of the box and fired from range, sending his effort narrowly wide of Kevin Trapp’s goal.
The Gers’ desire to impose themselves on the game threatened to work against them as the half progressed, with Filip Kostic twice going close with a nice volley and a low drive around the half-hour mark.
That being said, it was Rangers who ended the half on top, but their final chance was a poor strike from distance from Ryan Jack which went soaring over the bar.
As was the case in the first half, Frankfurt came out hottest for the second 45, but Rangers were a threat on the counter and Ryan Kent should have done so much better with a yard of space in the box, slashing the ball wide under no pressure.
Shortly after, Aribo was wheeling away in celebration. A slip from Tuta gifted the Nigerian with a free path on goal and he flashed his composure to fire past Trapp and into the back of the net.
Another slip nearly cost Rangers. Connor Goldson went to the deck and Kamada found himself through, but he had to stretch to chip his effort over McGregor and couldn’t keep it under control as it nestled on the roof of the net.
With 20 minutes to go, Frankfurt got their equaliser through Borre. The Colombian did very well to get across Calvin Bassey and poke the ball into McGregor’s net to tie things up.
Both sides did their best to grab a winner, with Frankfurt perhaps seeing the better of things, but neither could make the breakthrough before the end of the 90 minutes. To extra-time, we go.
Scott Arfield fired over from distance with the first real chance of the additional period, while Bassey had to be at his best to make up for his slip and pull out a perfect last-ditch challenge on Borre.
In the final 15, Kent and Kristijan Jakic both saw long-range strikes denied, but Rangers had their best chance of the entire game with just two minutes to go as Kemar Roofe’s low cross found Kent, whose strike was saved at point-blank range by a desperate Trapp – he was also on hand to deny a free-kick from James Tavernier soon after.
Time for penalties in front of the Rangers’ end.
Tavernier, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield all netted their penalties but Aaron Ramsey’s strike was kept out by Trapp, allowing Kostic to score and put Frankfurt 4-3 up.
Roofe scored to keep Rangers alive but up stepped Borre to make it five-for-five for Frankfurt and seal Europa League glory.