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.

Braga will take a slender 1-0 lead into next week's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Rangers thanks to Abel Ruiz's strike in Thursday's tie.

The hosts had already hit the post through Ricardo Horta and had an Andre Horta strike ruled out when Abel Ruiz fired them ahead shortly before half-time.

Rangers eliminated Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade to make it this far but could not register a shot on target at Estadio Municipal de Braga.

The sides meet again at Ibrox in a week's time, with the winners of this tie to face either RB Leipzig or Atalanta in the semi-finals.

After a slow start to the contest, Braga came to life in the 25th minute when captain Ricardo Horta's side-footed shot from 12 yards came back off the post.

Braga thought they had taken the lead two minutes later when Andre Horta fired in a deflected shot, only for the goal to be chalked off for Fabinho's rash challenge on Ryan Jack.

But Abel Ruiz's powerful shot past Allan McGregor, making his 100th European appearance for Rangers, was allowed to stand five minutes before half-time.

The introduction of Joe Aribo and Kemar Roofe shortly after the hour mark injected some urgency into the Gers' play.

Braga's goal did not come under any serious threat, though, with Connor Goldson's wayward header the closest Rangers went to scoring.

Barcelona can begin to plot their route to the Europa League final after learning which teams stand in the way of them reaching the Seville showpiece.

Xavi's side must tackle Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals, before the winner of that tie goes on to tackle West Ham or Lyon in the semi-finals.

This competition represents the last realistic chance for Barcelona to finish the season with silverware, given they are out of the Copa del Rey and trail Real Madrid by 15 points in LaLiga.

Head coach Xavi was appointed in November, succeeding Ronald Koeman, and his side edged past Galatasaray at the last-16 stage as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pedri earned a 2-1 second-leg win in Istanbul following a goalless first leg.

Eintracht booked their last-eight place by getting the better of another Spanish side, Real Betis, on Thursday. It took an own goal in the 120th minute from Guido Rodriguez to secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate success for Eintracht, who won the UEFA Cup in 1980 but cannot match Barcelona's European heritage.

Barcelona have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, but they have never lifted the trophy in the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

The clash of West Ham and Lyon promises to be a gripping tie between English and French rivals, while RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga will take on Serie A's Atalanta.

Scottish giants Rangers, who have knocked out Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in the previous two rounds, will face Portuguese side Braga.

The quarter-final ties will be played over two legs, on April 7 and 14, with the semi-finals on April 28 and May 5. The Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stages the final on May 18.

Europa League quarter-final draw

RB Leipzig v Atalanta

Eintracht Frankfurt v Barcelona

West Ham v Lyon

Braga v Rangers

Semi-final draw

RB Leipzig/Atalanta v Braga/Rangers

West Ham/Lyon v Eintracht Frankfurt/Barcelona

Barcelona will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xavi's side were 4-2 winners on aggregate over Napoli in the round of 32 after dropping into the competition from the Champions League.

They will now meet the Turkish Super Lig giants, with the first leg at Camp Nou to be played on March 10.

Sevilla, winners of a record six trophies, will face David Moyes' West Ham, while rivals Real Betis will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers, who shocked Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, take on Red Star and RB Leipzig will play Spartak Moscow. Spartak's home leg must be played at a neutral venue due to the military invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The first legs will be played on March 10, with the exception of Porto versus Lyon and Betis' game with Frankfurt, which will be held a day earlier. The second legs are a week later.

Europa League last 16:

Rangers v Red Star
Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

After nine and a half years, three first-team appearances and loan spells at seven different clubs, Lucas Piazon's time at Chelsea has finally come to an end.

Piazon, 26, on Thursday put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year contract with Primeira Liga side Braga, whose coach Carlos Carvalhal he played under at Rio Ave last season.

His name has been linked to Chelsea for so long, since signing as a promising 17-year-old in 2011, but few fans could tell you what he has done during his career.

With the help of Opta data, we look back at Piazon's loan spells to analyse an unusual career that finally appears set for some normality.

MALAGA

Piazon's first loan switch saw him head to Malaga in January 2013 and he began well, setting up two goals across his first three starts. However, he only started one more game and did not register another goal involvement.

VITESSE

Things ramped up a few gears the next season at Vitesse, where Piazon found the back of the net 11 times in his first 1,331 minutes for Vitesse. He scored or assisted a goal every 73 minutes before the mid-season break but did not have a single goal involvement in 727 minutes across the second half of the season as they slipped from second – level on points with leaders Ajax – to a sixth-place finish.

EINTRACHT FRANKFURT

Piazon spent the 2014-15 season with Frankfurt and only scored twice, though one was an incredible free-kick winner against Hamburg, across 22 appearances and 11 starts in the Bundesliga. However, he created 1.7 chances per 90 minutes in Germany's top flight, second only to Takashi Inui (2.3) among Frankfurt players.

READING

A return to England followed and the first of three years in the Championship. Piazon had three goals and two assists in 23 league appearances for Reading. Among players to feature for the club at least 10 times, he ranked second for passing accuracy (84.3 per cent) and fifth for chances created per 90 (1.9).

FULHAM

Piazon spent the next two seasons down the road from Stamford Bridge at Craven Cottage. In his first season with Fulham he had 2.2 chances created per 90 minutes, behind only Tom Cairney (2.7) and Stefan Johansen (2.3) among players to feature at least 10 times.

In 2017-18 he scored five goals and four assists as the Cottagers secured promotion to the top flight. His 18 goal involvements (10 goals, eight assists) across his two seasons with Fulham was the fifth most for the club during that time frame.

CHIEVO

A first venture in Serie A followed in the second half of 2018-19, but Piazon only played 81 minutes across four appearances for Chievo. He created one chance and hit the target with his only shot.

RIO AVE

Piazon became an important squad player during an 18-month loan at Rio Ave, contributing two goals and an assist as they qualified for the preliminary stages of the Europa League by finishing fifth in the 2019-20 Primeira Liga. His two goals from seven shots (including blocks) in the top flight this season gave him a team-high conversion rate of 28.57. Among Primeira Liga players to have taken at least as many shots as Piazon this season, only five have a better conversion rate.

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