Rangers have been beaten in the Europa League final by Eintracht Frankfurt, ending the club’s hopes of a first European trophy since 1972.
The Ibrox side lost 5-4 on penalties after 90 minutes and extra time had failed to separate the sides in Seville.
Goals from Joe Aribo and Rafael Santos Borre has the sides tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes, and after extra-time failed to produce a winner, spot kicks were needed. Aaron Ramsey was the Rangers player who saw his penalty saved and Frankfurt were flawless from 12 yards to seal the win and lift the trophy.
Rangers were backed by over 100,000 supporters in the Spanish city, with thousands more watching at home, though only a fraction had tickets to be inside the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. After partying in the build-up to the final, the supporters were left disappointed as a European run that had seen the team beat the odds time after time, came to an end.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst had opted to field the same starting side that had beaten RB Leipzig in the semi-final and was hoping for more success against German opposition
A nervy start from Rangers became a bit fraught when John Lundstram’s high boot left Sebastian Rode needing lengthy treatment for a cut to the head.
No action was taken against the Rangers player but the restart saw Frankfurt on the front foot quickly and Allan McGregor made the first save of the night from Djibril Sow.
Rangers contained the early attacks and soon settled into the game but Frankfurt had another good chance after 20 minutes when young wing-back Ansgar Knauff burst forward and hit a powerful shot that McGregor has to be smart to stop.
It took until 25 minutes in for Rangers to have a serious shot on goal. Scott Wright found Joe Aribo, who was inches away from finding the top corner with a curling shot from the edge of the box.
Ten minutes later, a Lundstram header from a Borna Barisic free kick was tipped over the bar by Kevin Trapp as Rangers began to exert more pressure.
Ryan Jack put an effort over the bar from distance but neither side could craft a clear chance as half-time approached and they had to settle for being level at the break.
Frankfurt were on the front foot after the restart, with Tuta trying his luck from distance and then Jesper Lindstrom’s drive deflected off Glen Kamara and zipping past the post.
Rangers had a golden opportunity seven minutes into the half. The ball was played in from the right to the edge of the box and Aribo was able to play it out to Kent but the winger snatched at his chance and sliced wide when he should have hit the target.
The next chance didn’t go to waste. A Frankfurt goal kick was sent back by Goldson and a misplaced header by Sow let Aribo run through on goal. The midfielder kept his composure under pressure and slid his shot under Trapp and into the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations from the blue-shirted fans in the stadium.
Frankfurt looked to get back into the game immediately and their attack brought calls for a penalty after Aribo blocked a shot from distance. Replays showed it had struck his chest.
With a lead to defend, Rangers were well organised and happy to sit back a little and counter when possible but hearts were in mouths after 66 minutes. A misplaced clearance allowed the ball to be played in to Daichi Kamada ,who lifted the ball over McGregor but saw it land on the roof of the net.
Frankfurt levelled two minutes later. Kostic fired in a low cross from the left touchline, the ball bounced past Goldson and Borre slipped in front of Bassey to knock the ball into the net.
Fashion Sakala and Steven Davis were introduced for Ryan Jack and Scott Wright as Rangers looked to re-establish their lead.
Defences were on top as the game entered the final stages.
Kostic flashed a ball across the face of the Rangers goal as extra time approached but there were no takers at the back post.
Five minutes of additional time was signalled and both sides knew that a goal would settle the contest but neither could fashion an opportunity before the full time whistle blew.
Scott Arfield replaced Glen Kamara as extra time started and the substitute’s first contribution was a speculative shot from distance that went over the bar.
Borre failed to make the most of a chance to race through on goal, and Davis had a shot blocked on the edge of the box but there was no breakthrough after an additional fifteen minutes and penalties looked ever more likely.
The second period of extra time started with Rangers taking the game to their opponents and Barisic testing Trapp with a powerful drive.Almost immediately Frankfurt replied with Adjin Hrustin pulling a low shot wide at the other end.
Kent was next to try his luck from outside the box but Trapp was equal to his effort then Frankfurt’s Kristijan Jakic flashed a shot over the bar.
Barisic limped off to be replaced by Roofe with just a few minutes to go.
The forward was involved straight away and handed Rangers a golden chance to win the final. Roofe raced down the right and played a low ball into the middle and Kent met it cleanly, only or Trapp to deny him with a save from point-blank range. Davis hit the rebound over the bar from outside the box.
Injury time in extra time and there was one last chance. A free kick from the edge of the box was taken by the Rangers captain and Tavernier found the top corner but Trapp saved.
Penalties were needed to separate the teams.
Tavernier stepped up first and beat Trapp, then ChristopherLenz got Frankfurt off to the perfect start. Steven Davis picked out the top corner before Hrustin sent McGregor the wrong way.
Arfield took Rangers’ third penalty and buried it and Kamada knocked in his effort off the inside of the post.
Aaron Ramsey was next and the Welshman chose to go low, only to watch with despair as Trapp got down and saved.
Kostic was up next and McGregor went the right way but the Serbian’s shot squeezed into the bottom corner.
Roofe had to score to keep Rangers’ hopes alive and he did, thumping his shot past Trapp.
That left Frankfurt’s Borre with the chance to win the trophy for his side. His shot was powerful and perfectly struck, leaving McGregor with no chance and his side beaten at the last.