Europa League

Braga 1-0 Rangers: Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side frustrated in quarter-final first leg

Tom Gott
Rangers were beaten in Portugal
Rangers were beaten in Portugal / Octavio Passos/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Rangers will feel frustrated to have fallen to Braga in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.

The visitors began the game on top but faded away as the clock ticked on, allowing Braga to start taking control of the game midway through the half.

Ricardo Horta hit the posts after 24 minutes and was then celebrating two minutes later after putting the ball in the back of the net, but Rangers had VAR to thank as a foul on Ryan Jack earlier in the move was spotted and the goal was ruled out.

There would be no denying them five minutes before the break, however. Leon Balogun failed to cut out a smart pass from Manchester City loanee Yan Couto and Abel Ruiz made no mistake with his finish to put Braga 1-0 up.

Couto and Horta were outstanding in the first half and threatened to continue their brilliance after the break with some smart moves early on, but Rangers weathered the storm and soon took control of proceedings.

Rangers had a really tough time getting the ball up to lone striker Kemar Roofe - who will be filling in for top scorer Alfredo Morelos for the foreseeable future after the Colombian underwent thigh surgery - and they looked disjointed even when they were dominating possession.

They came close with 20 minutes to go as Connor Goldson was gifted a great chance from a corner, but the centre-back couldn't keep his free header on target.

That final period was almost entirely played in Braga's third, with Rangers pinning their hosts back in search of an equaliser which never game.

Truth be told, it was a forgettable game and a frustrating one for Rangers to lose, but Van Bronckhorst will have seen enough from his side to be confident of overturning the deficit when the two teams resume their dance at Ibrox next week.

facebooktwitterreddit