Rangers 3-1 Braga (agg 3-2): Roofe's extra-time winner sets up Leipzig semi-final

By Sports Desk April 14, 2022

Kemar Roofe scored an extra-time winner as Rangers secured their place in the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-1 victory over nine-man Braga, who lost 3-2 on aggregate.

James Tavernier's first-half double, including a penalty awarded after Vitor Tormena was dismissed for a foul on Roofe, put Rangers in control with a 2-1 aggregate lead.

David Carmo's 83rd-minute header sent the tie into extra-time before Roofe, who had two goals disallowed, netted the decisive strike prior to Iuri Medeiros being given his marching orders.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's men will next face RB Leipzig, who defeated Atalanta 3-1 on aggregate on Thursday, with the first leg of the last-four clash coming on April 28.

Rangers struck first when Tavernier rolled underneath Matheus at the back post after a deflection from Joe Aribo following Borna Barisic's cross.

The hosts were in dreamland three minutes later when Roofe headed home another delivery from Barisic, only for the goal to be ruled out for handball against the full-back.

Roofe then fired against the crossbar from point-blank range following Aribo's flick from a Tavernier corner as Rangers continued to dominate, and their reward arrived soon after.

Tormena was shown red for felling Roofe when through on goal, with Tavernier converting the penalty down the middle.

Roofe saw another strike ruled out in the second half, this time for offside, after chipping Matheus, before Carmo levelled with a powerful header from Medeiros' corner.

Conor Goldson nodded wide in the closing stages before extra-time, where Roofe latched onto Aribo's low cross to turn home from close range.

Medeiros was shown two yellow cards in quick succession for a foul on Leon Balogun and his subsequent riled reaction, before Scott Arfield hit the crossbar, but that miss did not come back to haunt Rangers.

What does it mean? Rangers overcome knockout specialists Braga

Braga had progressed from their previous nine ties in the UEFA Cup and Europa League when winning the first leg, with eight of those previous nine victories coming in home matches.

But Rangers ended that stellar record as they battled valiantly to overturn a first-leg deficit in Europe's secondary club competition for the third time in their last four attempts.

Now, Van Bronckhorst's men must overcome in-form Bundesliga side Leipzig to reach the final.

Terrific Tavernier

Tavernier offered Rangers the perfect start when he netted their fastest goal in the competition after just 71 seconds, and it was also the earliest Braga have conceded in the Europa League.

The hosts' captain then added his second from 12 yards as he became the joint-top scorer in this season's competition (six). No Rangers player has ever scored more in a single European campaign (also Alfredo Morelos in 2019-20 and James Forrest in 1964-65).

Vitor Tormen-ted

Tormena handed Rangers the perfect opportunity to take the aggregate lead by barging through the back of Roofe when he was one-on-one with Matheus.

Not only was the left-back given his early marching orders, but he also gave away possession the most times before his dismissal (eight) and was unsuccessful in all of his three duels.

Medeiros' red then made matters worse as Braga became the first side since Rangers last season to have two players sent off in the same knockout game in the competition.

What's next?

Rangers return to domestic action with an Old Firm clash against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals on Sunday, while Braga visit Estoril the following day.

Related items

  • I owe everything to him – Trent Alexander-Arnold grateful to Jurgen Klopp I owe everything to him – Trent Alexander-Arnold grateful to Jurgen Klopp

    Trent Alexander-Arnold says he owes everything to Jurgen Klopp and believes the Liverpool manager’s impending departure could feed into the title-race drama.

    Reigning champions Manchester City sit top of the Premier League pile with six matches remaining after second-placed Arsenal and the third-spotted Reds suffered shock defeats on Sunday.

    Liverpool’s 1-0 home loss to Crystal Palace compounded Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Atalanta in what could prove Klopp’s final European night at Anfield.

    Alexander-Arnold made his return from two months out with a knee injury in the Eagles encounter and expects more “twists and turns” as the popular German’s final season in charge comes to an end.

    “I think experience is a massive part of it,” the Liverpool academy product told The Overlap podcast.

    “Obviously the other two teams will have experience from last season. They had their own title race within themselves.”

    Asked if Klopp leaving and the emotion around gives Liverpool an edge in the run-in, Alexander-Arnold said: “I think he will feed into that, the further it goes.

    “Let’s say we get into May, the start of May, and it’s still that tight, then he’ll start to feed into how it’s going to look, how it could feel. Up until then, we just need to try and stay (composed).

    “He never says, ‘We’re trying to win the league, we’re going to win the league’.

    “He doesn’t really speak about it. It’s more, ‘We’re going to get the most out of ourselves, we’re going to squeeze every drop of potential’.

    “There will be twists and turns, no matter what.”

    Liverpool are hoping for an almighty change in fortunes at Atalanta on Thursday, when the second leg could see Alexander-Arnold make his first start since February 10.

    Every one of his appearances for his boyhood club have come under Klopp, to whom the homegrown star is eternally grateful.

    “Incredible, really,” Alexander-Arnold said. “I owe everything to him, really, as a player.

    “I was thinking about this recently. The only thing you can ever ask for as a young player is opportunity.

    “All you can do is hope that when you get to 18, 19, you’ve got a manager that’s willing to give you a chance and I was fortunate enough to have that.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Trent Alexander-Arnold (@trentarnold66)

    “Not only that, he put his arm round me and guided me through it, through the ups and downs, the winning of stuff, losing things.

    “Good games, bad games, because your first bad game you think you’re never going to kick a ball again. You think, ‘I’m done’.”

    Alexander-Arnold is expecting it to feel “weird” returning to pre-season without Klopp, although he likes the idea of a “new challenge” under an as yet undetermined new boss.

    The 25-year-old will likely return late to Liverpool given England are among the favourites for Euro 2024, at which Gareth Southgate has a midfield role in mind for him.

    Asked whether he sees himself as a midfielder or a right-back, Alexander-Arnold said: “I’d probably say I still see myself as a right-back.

    “I see myself as someone who can probably play in both positions if needed.

    “But I think my focus, until I’m told otherwise by the gaffer, is that I’m still a right-back.

    “I come inside and I play inside when we have the got ball, but essentially, when you write the team-sheet, I am a right-back.”

  • Troy Deeney ‘pushing boundaries’ with wildcard slot at UK Open Pool Championship Troy Deeney ‘pushing boundaries’ with wildcard slot at UK Open Pool Championship

    Former footballer Troy Deeney hopes his wildcard entry into the UK Open Pool Championship can help “push the sport forward”.

    Deeney played in the Premier League with Watford and later had a spell at boyhood club Birmingham before a brief stint in coaching at Sky Bet League Two club Forest Green, where he was sacked after just six matches in charge having taken over following the dismissal of David Horseman.

    The 35-year-old is set to switch his focus to the pool table when the UK Open event starts in Telford on May 7.

    Deeney hopes his participation can play a part in raising the sport’s profile.

    “It’s something different, isn’t it? Something completely new,” Deeney told Sky Sports. “I just like pushing the boundaries a little bit, and seeing how it goes.

    “I’ve always got fond respect for any athlete in any profession. To do what they do takes hours and years of practice and dedication, so why not try my hand at it when the opportunity has come around?”

    Deeney, though, is not expecting to be an instant success.

    “The aim is to go there and not embarrass myself to be honest, but also be humble enough and vulnerable enough to know these guys have been doing it for years,” he said.

    “You can’t just put a few months’ worth of genuine training into it and a lot of years of odd playing – sometimes with a beer in hand as well – and expect to beat these guys.

    “But I know as soon as I’m involved in anything, my competitive edge will come flowing through anyways. I’ll give it a good go.

    “My end goal for this is to push the sport forward as much as I possibly can.”

  • Luke Hannant brace clinches Gateshead play-off place Luke Hannant brace clinches Gateshead play-off place

    Gateshead secured their place in the National League play-offs with a 2-1 win over champions Chesterfield, who suffered a fourth successive defeat since wrapping up the title.

    The home side – facing a third game in the space of five days after losing at Fylde and Maidenhead – took the lead in the 12th minute through a penalty from Luke Hannant.

    Chesterfield fell further behind in the 32nd minute when midfielder Hannant converted another spot-kick – and Spireites boss Paul Cook was shown a yellow card for his protests on the touchline.

    The visitors pulled a goal back on the hour mark when defender Louis Storey turned a cross into his own net, but Gateshead held on to make sure of their play-off spot.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.