Rangers dream lives on after extra-time thriller
Rangers 3 Sporting Braga 1 (AET. FT: 2-1, agg: 3-2)
Europa League QF 2nd leg
Rangers may be perilously close to losing their Premiership crown, but they are potential heirs to a European title for the first time in half a century.
Victory over a side reduced to nine-men might normally be regarded as pyrrhic, but on this occasion the home side could have scored six and their passage to the semi-final was just reward for a commanding performance.
James Tavernier scored twice in the first half before David Carmo’s late header for the visitors to take the match into extra-time.
Kemar Roofe had two goals disallowed and there were two rebounds from the posts that in other games may have prove costly.
Nerves were calmed when Roofe sealed the hosts’ passage into their first Europa League semi-final since 2008, the year they were losing finalists.
Rangers will next face RB Leipzig, with either Eintracht Frankfurt or West Ham waiting in the final. West Ham won 3-0 in Lyon to seal a 4-1 aggregate victory.
The Germans, who beat Italian side Atalanta in their quarter-final tie, are unbeaten in 13 matches, with their last taste of defeat being to Bayern Munich in early February. RB Leipzig sit fourth in the Bundesliga, a point behind Bayer Leverkusen, and nine adrift of Borussia Dortmund, who Rangers knocked out in the round of 32.
Ibrox is now beginning to dream that a first European trophy is within their grasp, 50 years after they lifted the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Rangers: Tavernier (2′, 44′ pen), Roofe (101′)
Braga: Veiga Teixeira Carmo (83′)
Braga: Tormena de Farias (42′), Picanço Medeiros (105′)
Rangers starting line-up:
- Allan McGregor
- James Tavernier
- Connor Goldson
- Calvin Bassey
- Borna Barisic
- Ryan Jack
- John Lundstram
- Aaron Ramsey
- Joe Aribo
- Ryan Kent
- Kemar Roofe (booked)