John Lundstram struck 10 minutes from time to give Rangers a 3-1 win over RB Leipzig and send them into the Europa League final 3-2 on aggregate after a see-saw clash at a rocking Ibrox on Thursday.
Goals from James Tavernier, Glen Kamara and Lundstram ensured Rangers moved to the final for the first time since 2008, where they will face Eintracht Frankfurt, bidding to win a second European trophy 50 years after the 1972 Winners’ Cup.
Captain Tavernier opened the scoring in the 18th minute, becoming the Europa League’s top scorer this season with his seventh goal, before midfielder Kamara’s long-range effort six minutes later extended the lead.
Leipzig, who won the first leg 1-0, hit back when forward Christopher Nkunku received a perfect cross from Angelino to score in the 70th minute but Rangers claimed the vital goal when a defensive mix-up after a corner allowed Lundstram to sweep the ball home.
“It’s unbelievable. Towards the end Lunny (John Lundstram) came up with the goods. A European final, it’s what you dream of,” Tavernier told BT Sport.
“We’ll go there (final) full of confidence. Frankfurt got there for a reason, but it’s one game and we’ll fully back ourselves. We’re in this to win it. We want to make all the fans proud.”
Frankfurt are 11th in the Bundesliga and Rangers have already knocked out the German league’s second-placed Borussia Dortmund and fifth-placed Leipzig this season.
West Ham’s European dream is over as they were beaten in the Europa League semi-final by Eintracht Frankfurt, who will meet Rangers in the final.
Defender Aaron Cresswell and manager David Moyes were both sent off on a heated night in Germany as West Ham failed to set up an all-British final.
Moyes’ side lost their home leg 2-1 but started brightly until Cresswell pulled down Jens Petter Hauge, who would have been through on goal. He was initially shown a yellow card but it was upgraded to a red after a video assistant referee review.
The German side – who enjoyed a marvellously colourful partisan home support – went ahead when the unmarked Rafael Borre hammered home from Ansgar Knauff’s low ball.
The night got even worse for West Ham when a frustrated Moyes booted the ball at a ball boy and was shown a straight red card.
At full-time thousands of Frankfurt fans streamed on to the pitch to celebrate their first European final since 1980.
West Ham had a few chances in the closing stages with Michail Antonio forcing a save from Kevin Trapp and Tomas Soucek heading wide.
The Hammers’ wait for a major trophy will tick over into a 43rd year. It also means no place in next season’s Champions League.