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Frankfurt beats Rangers in shootout to win Europa League

Frankfurt players celebrate after winning the Europa League final soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers FC at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Frankfurt defeated Rangers 5-4 in a penalty shootout after the game ended tied 1-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Eintracht Frankfurt’s 42-year wait for a European title ended Wednesday with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Rangers in the Europa League final.

Rafael Borré converted the decisive penalty kick after Kevin Trapp saved Aaron Ramsey’s shot, giving the German club its first European trophy since the 1980 UEFA Cup, a predecessor to the Europa League. The win also secures a first appearance in the Champions League next season for Frankfurt.

Trapp had already made a key save in the final minutes of extra time, stretching out a leg to stop a close-range shot by Ryan Kent. The veteran goalkeeper used his left leg to stop Ramsey’s penalty in the shootout, setting off huge celebrations by Frankfurt’s “white wall” of fans behind the opposite goal.

There were also wild celebrations back in Germany as Frankfurt fans packed the club’s stadium to watch the final.

The match ended 1-1 after regulation and extra time. Joe Aribo gave Rangers the lead in the 57th minute and Borré equalized for Frankfurt in the 69th.

Ramsey, the former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder, had entered the match in the final minutes of extra time to be in the shootout. Christopher Lenz, Ajdin Hrustic, Daichi Kamada and Filip Kostic also converted penalties for Frankfurt, while James Tavernier, Steven Davis, Scott Airfield and Kemar Roofe found the net for Rangers in the shootout.

Rangers was trying to win its first European title since lifting the trophy of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. The Scottish club also lost to Zenit St. Petersburg in the 2008 UEFA Cup.

Frankfurt went undefeated throughout the entire Europa League campaign and will return to the continent’s top club competition for the first time since 1960, when it lost in the European Cup final to Real Madrid in Glasgow.

The game had been mostly even, with each club enjoying small spells of dominance until a mistake by Frankfurt’s Brazilian defender Tuta, who tripped while trying to chase down a routine back header. That allowed Aribo to speed past him to open the scoring at Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium by calmly sending a low shot past Trapp.

Tuta had to be substituted after getting injured in the incident. It was Aribo’s first Europa League goal this season.

Frankfurt equalized 12 minutes later with Borré sliding in between two defenders to convert a cross by Kostic from the left flank. The Colombia forward came from behind central defender Calvin Bassey to send the ball past veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

There was fan violence outside the stadium before the match, with supporters from both clubs throwing chairs and tables at each other. Five German fans were detained the night before after a confrontation with police. More than 150,000 fans came to the southern Spanish city, most of them without tickets for the final at the 43,000-capacity Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium.