Nigeria trio Calvin Bassey, Joe Aribo, and Leon Balogun all took part in the UEFA Europa League final last night against Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Seville Stadium, Spain. The game which lingered to extra time was decided on penalties, just like it was last season between Manchester United and Villarreal. In all the ten spot-kicks observed, Rangers Aaron Ramsey was the only player to record a penalty miss.
So what would have been the first time in history that three Nigerian players will win a UEFA European competition with a club and a record of three Nigerians involved in ending Ranger’s 50 years of deficiency was shattered last night.
Certainly, not the result most Nigerian fans wanted, but the voyage and involvement of the Nigerian trio to the final with Ranger Glasgow has been terrific. Joe Aribo for a while has been leading the attack for the Teddy Bears, playing the ‘false nine’ role, while Calvin Bassey has been deployed to a Center back role from left-back by Coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Jose Peisero, who should have watched the game last night, will have better options now in his first-team selection.
Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey started for the Rangers at Seville, and Leon Balogun was an unused substitute. Nnamdi Ofoborh is another Nigerian who joined Ranger last season from Bournemouth FC and is currently sidelined as a result of heart problems since joining the Teddy Bears.
In the tough game, Aribo didn’t disappoint Rangers fans who traveled to witness their first European victory after many years of attempts. Just 17 minutes into the second half, Joe Aribo’s goal lit up Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Seville Stadium. After 12 minutes of continuous playing, Columbia striker Rafael Borre neutralized Aribo’s goal.
The game which ended 1-1 at the full time went on to extra time and was decided by penalty since no goal came forth. The penalty shootout ended 5-4 in favor of Frankfurt with Aaron Ramsey missing.