Rangers suffer Europa League heartache after Aaron Ramsey misses penalty – 6 talking points

RANGERS 1-1 (4-5 after penalties) EINTRACHT FRANKFURT: The Scottish giants suffered a painful penalty shoot-out defeat after an even final in Seville

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In pictures: Frankfurt vs. Rangers

Rangers suffered penalty shootout pain in the Europa League final as Eintracht Frankfurt edged them out on penalties in Seville to lift the trophy.

Aaron Ramsey saw his penalty saved by Kevin Trapp and the German side converted all of their penalties to lift the trophy after an even final.

Joe Aribo put Rangers ahead with three minutes to go but Rafael Santos Borre equalized with a Poacher finish 12 minutes later.

Experienced Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor saved Ansgar Knauff in the 20th minute th Minute and shortly after the half hour, Filip Kostic fired just wide of the goal with his left foot after a quick, decisive counterattack.

But the Scottish side was not without its openings; Joe Aribo’s long-distance runner went just wide of the post while John Lundstram saw his header tipped over the bar by Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. For the most part, however, the first half was a low-key affair with few clear-cut chances.

After the break, Frankfurt had turned down a big penalty – Rafael Santos Borre went down under a tackle from Connor Goldson and although there was minimal contact, the Rangers defender didn’t win the ball. VAR looked at the announcement but decided not to tell the referee to take a second look.

Moments later, Rangers took the lead – an erratic header from Djibril Sow allowed Aribo to break through, and when Frankfurt defender Tuta slipped, Aribo was able to go straight through and coolly brought the first set home of the night to put the Scottish club’s fans in goal to send chaos.

But Frankfurt recovered and continued to create chances; Midway through the second half, Daichi Kamada’s shot went just wide, but Santos Borre equalized two minutes later, scoring Goldson from close range after a dangerous Filip Kostic cross.

The two sides could not be separated for the remainder of the encounter and the game went into overtime. Rangers had the better of chances and in the 116th minute Ryan Kent was denied from close range by Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp before Steven Davis’ follow-up shot was deflected painfully over the bar. What penalties meant.

Here are six talking points from a grueling and dramatic night in Seville that went all the way.

Finely balanced

Filip Kostic and James Tavernier – two stars of their respective European runs – fight for the ball in a tense duel


Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Unlike most European finals, there was no sense in this clash that there was an underdog or favorite to lift the trophy. Neither of these teams wanted to reach the final.

While Rangers were slightly less favored, their eliminations against Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig – both of whom finished comfortably ahead of Frankfurt in the Bundesliga table – ensured they had no lack of confidence in the chances of another header.

This was played out during the game itself, with neither side able to assert their authority in the proceedings. Frankfurt had the better exchange in the first half hour before the Scots got back into the game.

But the game was mostly a tense affair, with both sides appearing to show nerves but then played within themselves for fear of making a mistake that could cost their side the game.

McGregor’s long wait ended

Allan McGregor missed the top game of 2008 through injury – but finally played his European final on Wednesday


Miguel Angel Acero/vi/DeFodi (Images via Getty Images)

Allan McGregor was Rangers’ goalkeeper in 2007/08 but was deprived of a UEFA Cup final appearance through injury – Neil Alexander replacing him.

Since that season he has helped Rangers win three consecutive league titles, then played for Cardiff City and Besiktas, spent five seasons with Hull City and then returned to Rangers where he helped them win their first title in ten years.

Now 40 years old, he played in the final this season, with the final in Seville being his 104th th Appearance in European competition for the Scottish club. That game was full of incredible personal stories, but none surpassed that of the Gers goalkeeper.

Fight to end heartbreak

Rangers and Frankfurt fans knew their side were poised to make history in Seville


(David S. Bustamante/Socrates/Getty Images)

Both clubs have tasted European glory in recent days but neither team has lifted a continental trophy in the lifetime of any of the players on the pitch.

Rangers had won the 1972 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (before losing the 2008 UEFA Cup final to Zenit Saint Petersburg), while Frankfurt – who famously lost the 1960 European Cup final to Real Madrid 3-7 in Glasgow – their predecessor, the UEFA Cup, won the Europa League, 1980.

The great similarities continued this season, with both teams enduring disappointing domestic league campaigns; Rangers had seen Celtic reclaim the Scottish league title while Frankfurt ended their season outside the top half of the Bundesliga on a disappointing 11th th Location.

Both Frankfurt and Rangers, who of course still have a Scottish Cup final against Hearts, have always been too close to be separated – so extra time really came as no surprise.

hearts also winners

Both groups of players were drained from the intense heat of Seville in their two-hour battle


Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

This was the first of two finals in just four days for Rangers, who take on Hearts in the Scottish Cup final at 15:00 on Saturday.

Of course, the Edinburgh club only wanted one thing for this showpiece – that what was a particularly grueling encounter for the Gers went into extra time. The sight of exhausted Rangers players as the game went into overtime would not have been lacking in smiles for Hearts fans.

Gers away from the daytime blues?

Frankfurt’s incredible run to the Europa League final included a memorable win at the Camp Nou against Barcelona


JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the big narratives in that game was that Frankfurt had an advantage compared to Rangers due to their vastly superior away record in the competition.

While the Scots’ wonderful win at Borussia Dortmund caught the eye early in the tournament, it was their only triumph in eight away games. The Gers failed to win on their trips to Alashkert, Sparta Prague, Brondby, Lyon, Red Star Belgrade, Braga and RB Leipzig.

In contrast, Frankfurt had won five of their six away games – most notably at Real Betis (in Seville), Barcelona and West Ham United. While Frankfurt shone on the road, Rangers’ successes built on their strong record at Ibrox – which of course they couldn’t rely on here.

As it turns out, this pre-game prediction ultimately affected the final score.

A final like no other

The Frankfurt fans’ pre-game presentation attracted attention before kick-off


David Ramos/Getty Images)

Reportedly, 150,000 fans came to the Andalusian capital for today’s clash – despite each club only having 10,000 tickets for the clash.

There was a party atmosphere throughout the city and the vast majority of fans were in high spirits, mingling amicably on the streets of Seville. These two clubs have significant followings and have been starved of European successes in recent years.

The atmosphere in the stadium was predictably incredible – with choreographies pre-kicks with no lack of noise, color or atmosphere at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Frankfurt’s flashy pre-game Tifo reportedly cost €50,000 and it took seven trucks to haul it all from Poland.

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