Frankfurt lift Europa League title after shootout win against Rangers
Madrid, May 19 (IANS): Eintracht Frankfurt beat Rangers 5-4 in a penalty shootout to lift the UEFA Europa League title after 120 minutes ended 1-1 between the two sides in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Wednesday.
Rangers’ Aaron Ramsey, who had been brought on specially for the shootout, missed the seventh penalty, and Frankfurt’s Rafael Santos Borre drilled the last penalty into the corner to decide the title.
The game took place after a boiling hot day in Seville, which saw an estimated 120,000 fans from both sides and ugly incidents among the supporters, with chairs and bottles thrown.
The first half was a relatively even affair as neither side wanted to commit any errors, although Eintracht had the best chance when Ansgar Knauff’s effort was pushed wide by Rangers keeper Allan McGregor, while at the other end, John Lundstram saw an effort comfortably tipped over the bar, reports Xinhua.
Rangers took the lead in the 56th minute when Tuta slipped to collect a back header, allowing Joe Aribo to burst through and score with a low shot into the bottom corner.
The jubilation of the Scottish fans lasted 13 minutes before Santos Borre drifted between two defenders to equalize with a near-post header, just moments after Daichi Kamada had fired over with just McGregor to beat.
Eintracht went looking for a winning goal with Jens Petter Hauge firing just over following a pullback, before Filip Kostic’s cross to the far post failed to find a final touch with McGregor struggling to make up his ground.
Extra-time saw the game become increasingly stretched as the heat and the tension began to take its toll on the players, although it was 15 minutes of ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhs’ rather than clear chances.
The second period of extra-time began with Borna Barisic firing straight at Kevin Trapp, while Adjin Hrustic dragged a shot wide of McGregor’s far post, before Rangers brought Ramsey on for the impending penalties.
The shootout nearly wasn’t needed as Kent saw Trapp make a great save when he looked certain to net the winner for Rangers, and Davis’ follow-up was deflected wide at the last moment.