Sporting Braga v Rangers

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February 26, 2020
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    Ryan Kent and Ricardo Esgaio

    Steven Gerrard and his Rangers team potentially stand just 90 minutes away from the last 16 of the Europa League.

    To make it there, they know they must overcome a formidable Braga team no doubt still rocked by an incredible 3-2 defeat at Ibrox in last week’s first leg.

    Here, we look at all you need to know in the build-up to Wednesday’s Portuguese showdown…

    Team news

    Borna Barisic has flown out to Braga with the rest of the Rangers squad clash after shaking off a back injury.

    Manager Gerrard is also likely to hand Florian Kamberi his first Rangers start in place of banned top-scorer Alfredo Morelos, while Ryan Jack will be available again after missing the first leg through suspension.

    But Jon Flanagan, Matt Polster, Jordan Jones and Brandon Barker have all been left behind in Glasgow while Jermain Defoe (calf) and Filip Helander (foot) are still injured.

    What they said

    Braga forward Paulinho: “We just have to understand and analyse what went wrong [in the first leg]. We believe that tomorrow will be a great night for us.

    “We have to be prepared to take Braga to the next stage, this is the most important thing. We are aware that it will be a very difficult game, we cannot think of anything else, we cannot be distracted by anything else.”

    Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “What we know is we have a very difficult 90 minutes ahead – a real, big challenge.

    “We have a small advantage going into the game, but in no way do we think we are favourites and in no way do we feel we have any reason to be over-confident.

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    “We are playing against a fantastic team who are in real, strong form. Again they won at the weekend, so we need to be ready and we need to try and play as close to our best as we can.”

    What happened in the first leg?

    Rangers pulled off an astonishing late comeback from 2-0 down to rescue their Europa League hopes with a dramatic victory over Braga at Ibrox.

    The slick Portuguese were dominant and cruising in the last-32 first leg after goals from Fransergio and Abel Ruiz.

    But Rangers hit back with an Ianis Hagi double either side of Joe Aribo’s superb solo goal in a 15-minute flurry.

    Match stats

    • Excluding qualifiers, Rangers have not won any of their last 15 European away games (D10 L5), but their last such victory came in Portugal; versus Sporting CP in the 2007-08 UEFA Cup quarter finals (2-0).
    • Rangers have won nine matches in European competition in 2019-20 so far (including qualification games) – this is a club record in a single season.
    • Rangers have lost just one of their last six European matches away against Portuguese opposition (W2 D3 L1), with this run including a 1-1 draw away at Porto in the group stage this season.
    • The 2-3 first leg defeat was SC Braga’s first European loss this season after previously winning eight and drawing two of their UEFA Europa League matches in 2019-20 (four qualifiers, six group games).
    • SC Braga are the highest scoring team in the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League, with 17 goals. They also have the joint-best shot conversion ratio in the competition this season (18.5%).
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    Source

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    February 26, 2020
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