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Heartbreak for Aribo, Bassey, Balogun as Rangers Lose Europa League Final

Joe Ayodele- Aribo put Rangers in front in Seville in the Europa League final last night but German side Eintracht Frankfurt equalised and eventually won 5-4 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 in extra time.

The Scottish side, according to soccer pundits, have punched above their weight but it was a disappointing night for the Glasgow side having been so close to European glory.

Calvin Bassey was solid on the night on the left side of central defence while Leon Balogun was an unused substitute.

Those fans had been euphoric when the Scots took the lead through Joe Aribo’s ice-cool second-half finish in the sweltering cauldron in Seville.

Calvin Bassey

However, Borre detonated raucous scenes in a jam-packed Eintracht end 12 minutes later as he steered in a soft equaliser to send this energy-sapping contest to extra time and penalties.

And Rangers’ players crumpled to their feet as the 11th-placed side in the Bundesliga prevailed in the shootout, executing five composed penalties to claim their second European trophy and a place in next season’s Champions League group stages.

Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, brought in late in the match, unfortunately lost his kick that handed the title to the Germans.

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Nigerian International Calvin Bassey on Everyone’s Lips

Two years ago, Calvin Bassey was in Leicester City’s reserves. Little over 12 months later, he was one of five Rangers players suspended for breaking lockdown rules.

Yet on Wednesday night in Seville, the 22-year-old was being described as a “colossus” and “outstanding” for his performance in the Europa League final.

The left-back turned domineering centre-back was viewed as a weak link in the Rangers team 18 months ago after joining as an unheralded free transfer, but has been utterly transformed this season.

Now the Nigerian international suddenly looks like one of the Ibrox side’s most prized assets, with the likes of Ally McCoist, Mark Hateley and Owen Hargreaves all cooing over his performance and what might come next for him.

“Calvin Bassey has been absolutely phenomenal,” McCoist said on BT Sport. “He has been a colossus this evening.”

Bassey was excellent against Eintracht, just as he has been throughout Rangers’ run to the final. He won seven of his 11 duels on the night, four of his five aerially, won possession back nine times, and made three interceptions.

Twice in extra time, with other players going down with cramp, he made two incredible recovery runs. First, after losing his footing he hared back to make a crucial tackle to stop a close-range shot.

Then a few minutes later, he chased down Ansgar Knauff and stopped the wing-back getting a free effort at goal.

Those were just a couple of examples of him using his athleticism, and there were countless others as he used sheer brute strength to defend stoutly. But he is also comfortable on the ball and in previous rounds demonstrated his ability to drive forward from the back.

It was not perfect from Bassey. Rafael Borre snuck across him in the six-yard box to score the equaliser, but he would perhaps have expected the cross to be stopped at source or Connor Goldson to intercept at the near post.

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