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Aribo scores, Bassey shines as Rangers lose Europa League final to Frankfurt

JOE Aribo scored Rangers’ goal and his fellow Nigeria international Calvin Bassey posted a man-of-the-match performance last night as the Scottish side lost the UEFA Europa League final to Eintracht Frankfurt.

The third Super Eagles star at Rangers, defender Leon Balogun, was an unused substitute.

Full-time and extra-time ended 1-1 and the Germans won 5-4 on penalties at a noisy Stadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan in Seville, Spain.

After a goalless first half, Aribo, playing in an unfamiliar striking role, shot Rangers ahead 15 minutes into the second half.

The Super Eagles star pounced on an error in the Frankfurt defence to latch on to a through ball before planting it beyond the reaches of goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Frankfurt were dangerous in attack before conceding, but Bassey was in impressive form, repelling attempt after attempt with his excellent one-on-one marking, anticipation and pace.

However, the Germans got their equaliser 12 minutes after Aribo’s goal, Rafael Santos Borre slipping between Bassey and his centre-back partner Conor Goldson to score from close range off a low cross.

There were no further goals in regulation time and 30 minutes of extra-time, although Rangers came very close towards the end as Trapp stopped Ryan Kent from point-blank range with seconds left on the clock.

Frankfurt were perfect from the spot during the shootout, scoring all their five penalties, while former Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey had his kick saved by Trapp.

Rangers will have another opportunity to win a trophy on Saturday, when they face Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.

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