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Kemar Roofe scored a winner in extra time as the Rangers secured their place in the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-1 victory over the nine-man Braga, who lost 3-2 overall.
James Tavernier’s first half double, including a penalty kick, after Vitor Tormena was sent off for a foul on Roofe, put Rangers in control with an overall lead of 2-1.
David Carmo’s header in the 83rd minute sent the equalizer into extra time before Roofe, who had two goals dismissed, struck the decisive blow before Iuri Medeiros got his marching orders.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men will next meet RB Leipzig, who defeated Atalanta 3-1 overall on Thursday, with the first match in the last four clashes coming on 28 April.
—Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 14, 2022
The Rangers struck first as the Tavernier rolled down under Matheus at the back post following a rejection from Joe Aribo after Borna Barisic’s cross.
The hosts were in dreamland three minutes later when Roofe headed another delivery home from Barisic, only to have the goal ruled out for handball against the full-back.
Roofe then shot at the crossbar from a blank area after Aribo’s flick from a Tavernier corner as Rangers continued to dominate and their reward arrived shortly after.
Tormena appeared on cue near the post, and steered it past the goalie.
Roofe saw another strike out in the second half, this time for offside, after chipping Matheus before Carmo equalized with a powerful header from Medeiros’ corner.
Conor Goldson nodded broadly in the closing stages before extra time, with Roofe locking himself on Aribo’s low cross to return home from close range.
Medeiros was shown two yellow cards in quick succession for a foul on Leon Balogun and his subsequent laughing reaction before Scott Arfield hit the crossbar, but that miss did not return to haunt Rangers.
What does it mean? Rangers beat knockout specialists Braga
Braga had progressed from their previous nine matches in the UEFA Cup and Europa League when they won the first match, where eight of the previous nine victories came in home matches.
But the Rangers broke that star record as they bravely battled to topple a deficit in the first leg of Europe’s secondary club competition for the third time in their last four attempts.
Now Van Bronckhorst’s men must overcome the strong Bundesliga team Leipzig to reach the final.
Tavernier offered the Rangers the perfect start as he scored their fastest goal of the competition after just 71 seconds and it was also the earliest Braga has locked into 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).
Tormena gave the Rangers the perfect opportunity to take the overall lead by pushing through the back of Roofe as he was one-on-one with Matheus.
Not only did the left-back get his early marching orders, but he also gave possession away most times before his rejection (eight) and was unsuccessful in all three of his duels.
Medeiros’ red then made things worse as Braga became the first team since Rangers last season to have two players sent off in the same knockout match in the competition.
Rangers return to the home game with an Old Firm showdown against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals on Sunday, while Braga visit Estoril the following day.