In what was a sweltering showdown at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Wednesday night, Rangers saw their European dreams slip through their fingers as they fell to a heartbreaking penalties defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Making the trip out to Sevilla with their sights set on making Europa League history, the Scottish giants failed to drag themselves over the finish line after Joe Aribo’s second-half opener.
Backed by a euphoric travelling support who constantly made themselves heard throughout, it simply wasn’t meant to be for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s squad here.
Watching Eintracht Frankfurt’s Rafael Santos Borré level the scoreline just 12 minutes after Aribo’s’ strike, the Eagles managed to top off what has been a remarkable European adventure this season.
Eventually claiming their second Europa League crown after Aaron Ramsey’s costly miss from the penalty spot, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Wednesday’s showpiece event.
The Eagles soar in Sevilla
Falling 1-0 down in what many were billing as the most important night of Eintracht Frankfurt’s modern history, their stellar comeback in the Spanish heat almost optimized the Eagles’ resolve this season.
Currently sat 11th in the Bundesliga standings and failing to find any kind of domestic stability throughout the 2021/22 campaign, Head Coach Oliver Glasner has seen his side pick up some heavyweights scalps.
Along with coming past Premier League outfit West Ham earlier in the month thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory, Frankfurt also pulled off a famous display away at former Spanish champions Barcelona on April 14th.
Eventually claiming a famous 3-2 victory in their second-leg meeting at the Nou Camp, even the most stringent of Frankfurt fans wouldn’t have expected a night that could top that showdown in Catalonia.
Becoming just the second German team to lift the Uefa Cup/Europa League since Schalke in 1997, there is no doubt that Borré wrote himself into the Eagles’ follow on Wednesday night.
Writing off Aribo’s opener as the 26-year-old poked past Alan McGregor 12 minutes later, Frankfurt’s attacking talisman also clinched the decisive penalty as he once again found a way past the Scottish veteran.
Brought over to Germany on a free transfer following a four-year stint with River Plate, Borré could be attracting some European interest after bagging four goals in this season’s tournament.
Spanish heartbreak for Rangers
Taking the lead just before the hour mark thanks to Aribo’s clam slotted finish, it almost seemed destined that Rangers were on course to make their own piece of Europa League history here.
However, despite being backed by an overjoyed crowd on foreign soil, van Bronckhorst’s side should look to find the positives from a remarkable European run this season.
Stunning almost everyone across the continent back in February as they eventually came past Borussia Dortmund thanks to a thrilling 6-4 aggregate win, the Blues have gained a host of plaudits this year.
Enjoying what will long be remembered as a stunning showdown against RB Leipzig earlier in the month as they topped off a real underdog story, the former Feyenoord boss must carry this momentum into the 2022/23 campaign.
Watching bitter Old Firm rivals Celtic also snatch their domestic title this season, Rangers would have been wondering what could have been if Kemar Roofe was fully fit on Wednesday night.
Also unable to call upon attacking talisman Alfredo Morelos who is still struggling with a long-term injury issue, van Bronckhorst’s squad could only crumble to their knees following Borré’s decisive spot kick.
With just a League Cup trophy to show for their troubles this season, Rangers will undoubtedly need time to recover after an emotionally draining night in Sevilla.
What next for Ramsey?
While someone was always destined to be the villain on Wednesday night as another Europa League final went to penalties, few would have expected Aaron Ramsey to be the man cast in that role.
Stunning almost everyone across Europe back in January as it was announced that the Wales international would be moving to Ibrox from Juventus on a short-term loan deal, the 31-year-old was viewed by many as too good to play in Scotland.
However, despite enjoying a glittering career that includes three FA Cup medals during his 11-year spell with Arsenal, Ramsey has failed to make any kind of impression in Glasgow.
Mustering just 13 appearances during his four-month stay at Ibrox, the one-time Cardiff starlet will undoubtedly be remembered by Rangers fans for his decisive penalty miss at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
Fluffing his lines from 12 yards out and watching his routine effort get denied by Kevin Trapp, it remains to be seen where Ramsey’s future lies over the coming weeks.
Only called up by van Bronckhorst in the final moments of extra-time, the 72-cap international returns to Turin this summer and the Old Lady have already made it clear that he will be pushed out of the exit.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp, Toure, Silva Melo, Ndicka, Knauff, Rode, Sow, Kostic, Lindstrom, Kamada, Borré
Subs: Hasebe, Lenz, Jakic, Hrustic, Hauge
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Jack, Laundstram, Kamara, Wright, Aribo, Kent
Subs: Sands, Sakala, Ramsey, Davis, Roofe
Goals: Eintracht Frankfurt: Borré 69′ – Rangers: Aribo 57′
Yellow Cards: Wright, Aribo
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Slavko Vincic
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