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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 15 April 2021

Rangers storm into last-16 with impressive Europa League win over Braga

It’s the club’s first European knockout win in nine years.

Rangers celebrate their decisive goal.
Rangers celebrate their decisive goal.
Image: Luis Vieira

RANGERS STORMED INTO the last 16 of the Europa League following an impressive 1-0 win at Braga that put them through 4-2 on aggregate.

Steven Gerrard’s men had come from two goals down in the first leg to head to Portugal with a narrow lead and should have been far more convincing winners as Ryan Kent scored the only goal just after the hour mark.

Rangers were without top scorer Alfredo Morelos through suspension and the absence of the Colombian could have proved costly as they missed a host of big chances before the break.

Morelos’s replacement Florian Kamberi fired too close to Matheus in the Braga goal before Ianis Hagi dragged another huge opportunity wide.

Hagi, son of Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi, scored twice to turn the tie around at Ibrox but missed the chance to give Rangers breathing space from the penalty spot just before half-time.

Raul Silva was penalised for handling a corner inside his own box, but Matheus made a brilliant save to turn Hagi’s penalty behind.

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Kent has been criticised for his lack of impact as Rangers have fallen 12 points behind Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

However, the former Liverpool winger produced a big goal when he had too much pace for the Braga defence to latch onto a long ball before firing low into the far corner.

Gerrard has been scathing of his side’s defending in recent weeks, but the visitors stood up to deny a Braga team that are unbeaten in their last 11 domestic games to win a European tie in the knockout stages for the first time in nine years.

 © – AFP, 2020 

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