Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Rangers 5-4 on penalties to win 2021-22 UEFA Europa League in Seville, Spain, after Rafael Santos Borre cancelled out Joe Aribo’s goal in a 1-1 draw.
Following a goalless opening 56 minutes, Joe Aribo pounced on a slip-up and a poor backpass header to fire Rangers ahead in the 57th minute.
Frankfurt responded 12 minutes later after Rafael Santos Borre flicked in Filip Kostic’s low cross from close-range to level the score, shortly before the second cooling break of the match due to hot temperatures in Seville.
Jens Petter Hauge and Kostic wasted late chances to win the match for Frankfurt which meant that fans were treated to extra-time, in which neither team failed to score to send the Final to a penalty shootout for a second consecutive season.
After the first six penalties were scored, Aaron Ramsey missed Rangers’ fourth spot-kick which proved decisive as Kostic and Borre netted to wrap up a 5-4 victory on penalties for Frankfurt, despite Kemar Roofe briefly restoring parity.
Victory guaranteed Eintracht Frankfurt a place in the Group Stage of next season’s Champions League and their third title in all UEFA competitions, having previously won this competition in 1979-80 plus 1967 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Eintracht Frankfurt made a swift start from kick-off as they proceeded to pressurize Rangers’ defence in the opening minutes with a series of crosses, which all eventually came to nothing in the end.
John Lundstram however was lucky to not see a red card in the fifth minute for a reckless high-footed foul on Sebastian Rode, which left the German needing treatment on a head injury and caused a consequential five-minute delay to proceedings.
Upon the restart in the 10th minute, Frankfurt proceeded to again apply pressure which nearly paid off two minutes later, as Djibril Sow’s shot was saved by Allan McGregor, who had blocked Daichi Kamada shot just moments earlier.
Ansgar Knauff and Sow then saw further chances for the Bundesliga club go to waste as Rangers stubbornly defended hard, with their first proper chance falling in the 26th minute as Aribo fired wide of the top left corner on the turn from Scott Wright’s quick pass.
Kostic then produced Frankfurt’s best chance of the first-half as he broke forward up the left flank in the 32nd minute, only to drag his shot wide across goal evading the bottom right corner.
Rangers responded by enjoying their best section of the first-half as James Tavernier swung a corner across goal two minutes later, which found Ryan Kent who was fouled by Sow and John Lundstram headed the resulting free-kick onto goal but Kevin Trapp flicked the shot over just in time.
Both teams ultimately failed to find a breakthrough goal before half-time with Frankfurt seeing two corners cleared, whilst Ryan Jack fired over for Rangers as the first-half finished goalless.
Once the action resumed after the break, Frankfurt immediately applied pressure as Calvin Bassey and Tavernier were forced into early saves, before Connor Goldson was lucky to not concede a 52nd minute penalty after clipping Rafael Santos Borre to ground.
Frankfurt’s defence however slipped up as Sow misjudged a backward header in the 57th minute, which caused Tuta to stumble and unleashed Aribo through to fire in beyond Trapp to put Rangers in front.
Aribo soon found himself lucky to not concede a penalty after Jesper Lindstrøm’s 59th minute shot bounced off his ribs, despite Frankfurt players insisting that he had handballed the shot with his left arm.
Frankfurt soon began to get back on top with their efforts eventually paying off in the 69th minute as Borre flicked in from Kostic’s low curled cross from the left, having managed to get in front of Bassey just by a few inches to deliver the crucial equalising goal.
Substitute, Jens Petter Hauge nearly completed Frankfurt’s comeback eight minutes later as he ultimately fired over the bar from Rode’s lay-off pass.
Kostic then missed a huge opportunity to win the match for Frankfurt without needing extra-time as he fired wide across goal in the 89th minute, with none of his teammates able to get a touch on the ball as it rolled beyond McGregor and behind the goal.
There were no further chances of note as both teams eventually settled for extra time.
Rangers substitute, Scott Arfield had the first chance within extra time as he fired over in the 94th minute from Fashion Sakala’s pass.
Borre then ventured up the other end as he intercepted a stumbling Bassey, only for the latter to recover and flick his shot out of play, before the consequential corner was cleared by Borna Barisic.
Knauff wasted a huge opportunity in the 100th minute after he broke forward on the counter for Frankfurt from a clearance of Kent’s cross up their end of the pitch, although the right-winger could only fire his shot wide of the top right corner.
Ajdin Hrustic picked up Hauge’s 107th minute pass but fired his shot wide, before Kent then saw a late chance for Rangers five minutes later denied by Trapp as both teams struggled to break one another down during the second-half of extra-time.
Substitute, Kemar Roofe squeezed a 118th minute pullback from the right towards Kent whose flicked shot rebounded off Trapp, only for Steven Davis to fire over the bar.
Penalties eventually followed in front of the Rangers’ fans section after Tavernier’s last-gasp free-kick towards the top-right corner was denied by Trapp, following a foul on Davis just outside of the box.
All of the opening six penalties were scored but Ramsey saw his penalty denied by Trapp’s left foot, as Kostic proceeded to put Frankfurt 4-3 in front heading into the fifth and final round of penalties.
Roofe scored via the left-post to restore parity but Borre stepped up and rifled in the final penalty to secure a 5-4 win on penalties for Frankfurt, which secured a place in next season’s Champions League Group Stage for the Bundesliga team.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Kevin Trapp, Alamamy Toure, Tuta (Hasebe 58′), Evan Ndicka (Lenz 101′), Ansgar Knauff, Sebastian Rode (Jakic 90′), Djibril Sow (Hrustic 105′), Filip Kostic, Jesper Lindstrøm (Hauge 71′), Daichi Kamada, Rafael Santos Borre
Substitutes: Jens Grahl, Kristijan Jakic, Ajdin Hrustic, Sam Lammers, Makoto Hasebe, Ragnar Ache, Timothy Chandler, Jens Petter Hauge, Danny da Costa, Christopher Lenz, Aymen Barkok, Goncalo Paciencia
Rangers: Allan McGregor, James Tavernier, Borna Barisic (Roofe 117′), Connor Goldson, Calvin Bassey, John Lundstram, Ryan Jack (Davis 74′), Scott Wright (Sakala 74′, Ramsey 118′), Ryan Kent, Glen Kamara (Arfield 90′), Joe Aribo (Sands 101′)
Substitutes: Robby McCrorie, Jon McLaughlin, Amad Diallo, Steven Davis, Aaron Ramsey, James Sands, Kemar Roofe, Leon Balogun, Fashion Sakala, Scott Arfield, Leon King, Alex Lowry