Roofe penalty in vain as Frankfurt lift Europa title
SEVILLE, Spain (AP):
EINTRACHT FRANKFURT’S 42-year wait for a European trophy is over, but Reggae Boy Kemar Roofe’s pain over what could have been has just begun.
Roofe, who had been in a race to be fit for the encounter, made a substitute’s appearance for Rangers, just to kick a penalty. The Reggae Boy converted but had to watch as former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey had his spot saved by Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
The save meant that the German club would end its title drought with a penalty shoot-out win over Rangers in the Europa League final on Wednesday.
Trapp had also come up with a big save at the end of extra time to ensure that the game ended 1-1 after regulation and extra time.
Colombia striker Rafael Borré, who scored a second-half equaliser for Frankfurt, converted the decisive penalty to clinch the club’s 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.
“It feels incredible,” Trapp said. “I’m trying to catch my breath still. For us, for Frankfurt, for the region. For the whole of Germany I think it’s a wonderful thing. To be able to give back to our fans this way is so special.”
Trapp, a former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper, made a key save in the final minutes of extra time by stretching out a leg to stop a close-range shot by Ryan Kent after Roofe’s square.
Joe Aribo gave Rangers the lead in the 57th minute, and Borré equalised in the 69th for Frankfurt, which became the third team to go through the Europa League unbeaten after Chelsea in 2019 and Villarreal in 2021.
PENALTY SHOOT OUT
Ramsey, the former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder, entered the match in the final minutes of extra time to be in the shoot-out. Christopher Lenz, Ajdin Hrustic, Daichi Kamada, and Filip Kostic also converted penalties for Frankfurt, while James Tavernier, Steven Davis, Scott Airfield, and Roofe found the net for Rangers in the shoot-out.
“It’s the small margins when you get to this stage of competitions,” Rangers captain Tavernier said. “It was in our own hands, but we conceded that goal and then Trapp makes a great save from Ryan Kent. Then he makes the save in the shoot-out and we are all just devastated.”
Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst said Kent’s miss made the difference.
“You have to score those, especially in the last minutes,” he said.
Rangers was trying to win its first European title since the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. The Scottish club also lost to Zenit St Petersburg in the 2008 UEFA Cup. It was trying to cap a comeback 10 years after it was sent to the lower divisions because of a financial meltdown.
“It’s going to be a sore one to take,” Rangers midfielder Davis said. “We know how difficult it will be to get to this stage again.”
Frankfurt will return to the top flight of European competition for the first time since 1960, when it lost in the European Cup final to Real Madrid in Glasgow.